Social Impact Investing

Through the Department of Social Services, the Australian Government has committed $52.7 million since 2017-18 to grow the Social Impact Investing (SII) market in Australia.

SII brings together governments, service providers, investors and philanthropists to create innovative solutions to entrenched social issues. 

The SII project aims to inform the Government approach to growing the SII market through the following initiatives: 

  • Two trials will enable the Government to evaluate the effectiveness of this financial model in supporting mechanisms to address social disadvantage:
    • State and Territory Partnership Trials: established to partner with state and territory governments on SII initiatives to support vulnerable groups.
    • Payment by Outcomes Trials: to establish and evaluate three outcome-based funding arrangements to test Government capacity. The trials are testing paying on achievement of employment, and child development and wellbeing outcomes.
  • Two capacity building trials seek to understand how the Government can support and strengthen the SII sector:
    • Sector Readiness Fund: providing grants to established social enterprises to purchase services to secure private investment capital to expand their social impact.
    • Outcomes Measurement Initiative: to identify the outcomes measurement needs of the SII sector and build the capacity of for-purpose organisations to define, measure and communicate their outcomes and social impact to attract investment.

Evaluation of the SII Initiatives 

An evaluation of the SII initiatives will seek to answer the overarching questions related to the Government’s role in building the SII market and the effectiveness of outcome based financial models in addressing entrenched social disadvantage.

Australian Government Principles for Social Impact Investing

These initiatives are established in line with Australian Government Principles for Social Impact Investing, which were developed in consultation with the SII sector.  Where the Australian Government is involved in social impact investments, agencies must take into account the following Principles:

  1. the Government's role as an enabler and developer of the market
  2. value for money co-design with stakeholders
  3. fair sharing of risk and return
  4. robust outcomes-based measurement and evaluation, and
  5. outcomes that align with Australian Government policy priorities. 

For further information on these principles and how they were developed, visit The Treasury at Social Impact Investing |


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