Key Messages

  • Each state and territory government regulates its own health workforce.
  • It is increasingly common for healthcare workers to work across state borders and overseas.
  • Governments recognise contemporary workforce mobility and often work together on health policy and regulation.
  • A range of structures and processes have been established to intergovernmental collaboration on health workforce policy including regulation.

Collaboration across government

Each state and territory government is responsible for regulating its health workforce under the Australian Constitution.

However, it is increasingly common for healthcare workers to work across state borders and overseas. Recognising this, state, territory and Commonwealth governments often collaborate on health workforce policy, including matters of regulation.

Structures and processes

A range of structures and processes have been established to enable intergovernmental collaboration on health workforce policy. The main intergovernmental bodies and their reporting lines are:

  • Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
  • COAG Health Council (CHC)/Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC)
  • Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC)
  • Health Workforce Principal Committee (HWPC)
  • Practitioner Regulation Sub-Committee (PRSC).

Victoria has members on each of these intergovernmental bodies.

Council of Australian Governments

COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. The COAG members are:

  • the prime minister
  • state and territory premiers and chief ministers
  • the president of the Australian Local Government Association.

COAG Health Council and the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council

The CHC and its advisory body, AHMAC, provide a mechanism for the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government and state and territory governments to discuss matters of mutual interest concerning health policy, services and programs.

The CHC was formerly known as the Standing Council on Health and the Australian Health Ministers Conference.

Membership of the CHC consists of health ministers from each jurisdiction.

Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council

AHWMC is constituted under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (as in force in each state and territory). The AHWMC has statutory powers under the National Law to make certain decisions with respect to the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for the health professions, including the appointment of members of the National Boards and the approval of registration standards.

The AHWMC is made up of state and territory health ministers and the Commonwealth health minister.

Health Workforce Principal Committee

The HWPC is one of several AHMAC standing committees. Its role is to advise AHMAC on a coordinated approach to national health workforce strategic issues.

Membership of the HWPC includes senior government officials who are responsible for health workforce policy.

Practitioner Regulation Subcommittee

The PRSC is a HWPC standing subcommittee. Its role includes providing advice to AHWMC and the CHC via AHMAC and the HWPC. The PRSC advises on health workforce matters arising from the NRAS.

The PRSC also advises on other workforce regulation matters that may require a cross-jurisdictional policy or regulatory response including:

  • assessment of the unregistered health professions for inclusion in the NRAS
  • regulatory barriers
  • alternative regulatory models.

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