As the Federal Minister for Community Services and Health, Mc Brian Howe M.H.R. pointed out in the opening address to the Conference, the 1990s are likely to see community services in Australia challenged on a number of different fronts. At a time in which demographic and social changes are placing community services under increasing pressure, political and economic conditions are not in favour of the simple expansion of the present system. Rather, it is clear that a case exists for a fundamental review of the ways in which services are organised and delivered. Developing another theme raised in the opening address, Mary Crooks placed an emphasis on the issues associated with the question of 'social justice' in community services. Sheila Shaver’s paper discusses the issues in a more conceptual and historical manner, examining the effects of a wide range of strategies pursued in recent years, upon the divisions between the public and private domains and between the state and community. The papers presented by Michael Fine and Sara Graham, shift from a consideration of community services in general to a more specific focus on the Home and Community Care Program (HACC). In the first of these papers, issues of planning are discussed, drawing on both Australian and overseas experience. The second paper presents information obtained in the first stage of a three year longitudinal study of the support provided to a cohort of people with disabilities, the majority of whom are elderly. The final two papers in this collection return to more general issues. Sue Jackson highlights the factors which need to be considered in the planning and delivery of services, signifying issues which need to be addressed from the perspective of the locally based service organisations. Tony Dalton and Kevin McDonald, in contrast, set out a new and challenging analysis of Australian cities as the sites for the generation of social problems, with major implications for the way in which community services are conceptualised.