From the CEO's desk

Minister Butler has been speaking publicly this week about potential Medicare reforms as we await the release of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report due within the next few weeks.  And it was gratifying to hear him include allied health professionals among the in-scope primary healthcare workforce.

Between recent media coverage about the low rate of bulk-billing for people accessing GPs, and some negative press about alleged system rorts, it's clear that our much-loved universal healthcare system is in need of an overhaul.  Timely, and deliberately so, that the Grattan Institute published a report in December entitled A new Medicare: Strengthening general practice.  While focusing exclusively on general practice as the lynchpin of the primary healthcare system, it provides a useful perspective on how to overhaul funding mechanisms to move away from a dependence on fee-for-service arrangements and towards team-based care working alongside the patient.

As proposals such as those outlined in the Grattan Institute's report gain attention it remains critical that the allied health sector is at the table at every phase in the redesign process - federal, state and local - especially when we are talking about teams-based care.  Elements of the Grattan report's proposal demonstate clearly that establishing a model of care and workforce profile for primary healthcare settings requires a sound understanding of team roles.  The risk is that unless allied health expertise is utilised in the design of new models of primary healthcare, the critical skills sets allied health professionals bring will continue to be sidelined, and reforms will fail to stick.  Tune into this week's podcast to hear Allan Groth and myself discuss this in more detail.

In the meantime SARRAH will continue to seek input to the likely proposals for reforming the primary healthcare sector, with our unique perspectives on issues impacting allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

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Listen to earlier episodes here.

Health Reform in 2023!! Much needed, but will it be bold enough to make a difference?
It seems we may be waiting a little longer for the release of the report of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, chaired by Minister Mark Butler, which was anticipated optimistically prior to Christmas. The delay isn’t necessarily a bad thing, provided it’s helping to shore up support for substantive reform and not signalling an acquiescence to pressures reinforcing the system as is, with all of the access gaps and inequitable outcomes that characterise Australia’s world class (for some) health system. There are plenty of calls for tweaks in MBS rates and funding to address long surgical waiting lists, but real reform is about much more, enabling access and service provision where it doesn’t occur now, prevention (and ultimately health enhancing and sustainability) and better utilising the skills and resources we have now, and building them where we don’t. Earlier this week, Minister Butler made some promising comments in an interview with Laura Tingle on the ABCs 7:30 Report
There’s always a lot happening in the background to health policy. It just increases whenever policy reform, Budget etc are in the air.  On 19 December 2022, the AMA released its 2022 Private Health Insurance Report Card. On page 4, it included the following graph (Figure 1).  It bears consideration, not only in juxtaposing the increased premium costs of PHI with MBS increases (which are stark), but because it provides insights to the focus and strength of arguments put to Government about where additional funding could be directed.  When confronted with graphs like this, how can we ensure the less visible but crucial aspects of health reform (e.g. prevention and allied health access enablers) get some attention?

NHMRC funding – opportunities for SARRAH Members? Many readers will know of these already. If not, SARRAH encourages members to seek research and other opportunities to shape our health systems and address the issues we face in improving access to effective care in rural and remote Australia.
Partnership Projects will support collaborations, within the Australian context, that translate research evidence into health policy and health practice, to improve health services and processes. The objectives of the Partnership Project scheme are to:
  • Meet the need for more effective integration of research evidence into health policy and service delivery
  • Create partnerships among policy makers, managers, service providers and researchers
  • Provide support to answer often complex and difficult questions that policy makers, managers and service providers face when making decisions and implementing policies that affect Australians health and health care
  • Be highly responsive to the priorities of government, the community and health professionals
  • Enable applicants to apply for funding at any time during the year to allow researchers and Partner Organisations to develop timely collaborations.
New National Medicines Policy – released 20 December 2022 – which includes a topical statement (page 5) “Workforce and education – to ensure a workforce that is knowledgeable, capable, competent, accessible and resourced to provide well-coordinated, integrated and person-centred care. Health professionals are appropriately trained to work to their full scope of practice, consistently across all jurisdictions within Australia, in collaboration with other partners, and apply relevant and current best practice guidelines.”  A fine thing to aim for.
The Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority (IHACPA) has released the New Health Technology Policy.  IHACPA recognises the need for the pricing of public hospital services to respond in a timely manner to the introduction of new health technologies and models of care.
The AIHW this week released its latest data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific primary health care: results from nKPI and OSR
Information from organisations funded by the Australian Government under its Indigenous Australians' Health Programme (IAHP) to deliver culturally appropriate primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is available through two data collections - the Online Services Report (OSR); and the national Key Performance Indicators (nKPI). This report is updated periodically to include the latest data from these collections.
  • The workforce profile data again shows the comparatively very small number and proportion of allied health professionals (and consequently service access) across the sector.

Seeking your input:
SARRAH advocates strongly for the interests of rural and remote allied health
and for these to be a fundamental consideration in national health and related service strategy design, oversight and development of integrated policy, program and service design. The value of allied health in addressing service gaps, demographic and population health trends needs to be better understood by decision-makers and funders.
To this end, SARRAH puts considerable effort into providing submissions to government and other inquiries and consultation processes. Those submissions are always better, and potentially more influential, when they are informed by the expertise and knowledge of our members.  We encourage you contribute.  A short email or a quick phone conversation on a subject of direct concern to you can be extremely valuable in these processes. If you’d like to contribute, please contact

The list of submissions we contributed to during 2021-22 can be found on page 20 of the SARRAH 2021-22 Annual Report.


Intellectual Disability Health Core Capabilities - Consultation Survey(Closing 27 January) The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) is leading the Intellectual Disability Health Curriculum Development Project, a short-term action under the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability. The aim is to engage with people with intellectual disability, their families, carers and support workers, accreditation authorities, universities, health professionals and academic experts. A Framework is being developed to set out clear capabilities and learning outcomes regarding health care for people with intellectual disability. The Framework will also include implementation guidelines and resources to support universities to integrate intellectual disability health care principles into their current pre-registration education curricula. The ultimate aim is to prepare graduates with the required capabilities to provide the highest quality care to people with intellectual disability throughout their future health professional careers. The Framework will also aim to support accreditation authorities to integrate these capabilities within health professional accreditation standards in future review cycles.

The Australian Government has established an Inspector-General of Aged Care, supported by an independent Office. (Consultation open until Friday 27 January). 
The Inspector-General will play a critical role in driving improvement across the aged care system by: 

  • looking at it from end to end, calling out systemic issues and significant problems, and making recommendations for improvements, and 
  • providing increased accountability and transparency through reporting to Parliament, including on the progress of the implementation of Royal Commission recommendations. 

Establishment of the Inspector-General and supporting Office requires legislation. The proposed Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill (the Bill) needs to be passed by Parliament to become law – expected to occur in mid-2023. 
An exposure draft, consultation paper and summary are available for review and comment on the Aged Care Engagement Hub:

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) is developing a National Eating Disorders Strategy (the National Strategy). The National Strategy will provide a 10-year roadmap and plan to build the eating disorder system of care, with a strong focus on implementation and activation. Building on progress made within the previous National Agenda for Eating Disorders 2017-2022, the National Eating Disorders Strategy will guide sector development and policy decision-making for the next decade.  NEDC is inviting Australians aged 15 years and over to complete a public survey to help refine the key priorities for the National Strategy. Please click here to complete the 15-20 minute survey. The survey is open until 7 February 2023. Further information can be found on the NEDC website.  For more info please contact  

Jobs and Skills Australia Discussion Paper – the Government has established a new entity, Jobs and Skills Australia, and is inviting responses to a discussion paper which shares an update on what is being proposed for Jobs and Skills Australia’s ongoing arrangements and seeks your view on how Jobs and Skills Australia can work with stakeholders to provide the evidence and analysis needed to ensure Australia has a skilled workforce now and in the future
Your response will help inform how Jobs and Skills Australia will work in the future. This is an opportunity to reinforce the need to ensure professions in very high demand, in shortage and needing better mechanisms to enable distribution (e.g. allied health) to be prominent in the thinking of policy makers.  Submissions are due by 5pm AEDT, Friday 10 February 2023.

The Department of Health and Aged Care is developing a strategic plan for the nurse practitioner workforce. The purpose of the Plan is to describe a set of actions that can be taken to address nurse practitioner workforce issues and enhance the delivery of nursing care to the Australian community. The Consultation Draft of the Plan (Consultation Draft) has been released for the purpose of seeking feedback from people and organisations with an interest in the Australian nurse practitioner workforce. The Department is encouraging input from a wide range of perspectives. Many of the issues raised in the paper will have similar considerations for allied health (and how best to utilise that workforce as well) and have implications for how health care is and can be delivered. An online survey is available to complete (about 30 minutes). Consultation closes at 11.59pm on Friday 10 February 2023.

Draft Quality Framework for the Disability Employment Services Program: SARRAH members supporting employment options for people with disability may be interested in contributing to proposed enhancements, including performance, data, quality and assurance. Input is welcomed.  A draft framework (outlined in this discussion paper) has been developed with reference to a range of existing employment and disability services performance frameworks. The draft comprises five distinct ‘Quality Elements’: Participants’ rights; Quality of service; Provider capability and governance; Feedback and complaints; Formal assurance. To have your say  you can respond to the survey or upload a submission. Submissions close 26 February 2023.

ACSQHC consultation - Primary and Community Healthcare Standards Guidesee the separate tile in our newsletter about this one (due 28 February).

The Department of Health and Aged Care is consulting about opportunities to amend the Healthcare Identifiers Framework (the HI Framework) which includes the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (the Act), the Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) and the key policy settings for the Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service). Healthcare Identifiers (HIs) have been used to implement My Health Record (MHR), and more recent digital initiatives such as electronic prescribing. However, adoption of HIs beyond these services has been slow. This is partly due to legislative and operational challenges. The main objective is to align the Act and the HI Service with our modern healthcare environment, so as to enable delivery of safe, high-quality healthcare services and meet current and emerging strategic, policy, program, and operational goals. The Project aims to rapidly evolve Australia’s ability to connect health information systems. It will do so by ensuring that HIs can and will be used as the common identifiers across healthcare programs and services. This will allow providers to accurately identify a healthcare recipient and send health information securely between health services. Stakeholder views are sought on both legislative and non-legislative mechanisms to improve the operation of the HI Service. The consultation closes 28 February 2023.

The Australian Parliament’s House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training is commencing an inquiry into the perceptions and status of vocational education and training.
More information about the inquiry is available here, including the terms of reference.  Submissions are due by Wednesday 1 March 2023.

The Australian Government is developing an Early Years Strategy (the Strategy) in recognition of how critical the early years are for children’s development and continued success over their lifetime. The Strategy aims to help the Commonwealth create a more integrated, holistic approach to the early years and better support the education, wellbeing and development of Australia’s children. It will seek to support improving coordination between Commonwealth programs, funding and frameworks impacting early childhood development. They are seeking feedback and ideas on how to develop the Strategy. The online survey is open until 3 March 2023. Public submissions will open shortly.

ACSQHC - Clinical quality registries support the delivery of better value care and improve patient outcomes: ASCQHC has developed a second edition of the Framework for Australian clinical quality registries.  The updated Framework provides national best practice principles and detailed guidance for establishing and operating Australian national clinical quality registries. These include guidance on governance, infrastructure, security and privacy compliance, technical standards, reporting and more. Greater clarity around local governance arrangements will help clinical registries increase efficiency, strengthen partnerships and collaboration, deliver better patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare variation. To have your say visit the ACSQHC website. The online survey closes 31 March 2023.


The National Dementia Action Plan is a joint initiative of the Australian Government and state and territory governments. It is a 10 year plan to put people living with dementia, their families, and carers at the centre of all action on dementia.
The consultation paper is available in several formats - summary of the consultation paper (15 pages); consultation paper on a page; and consultation paper (70 pages). You can provide feedback by completing an online survey (approx 15 mins) or by emailing  The consultation closes on 23 January 2023.  This information is also on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s consultation hub.

The Federal Government's  2023-24 Pre-Budget Submissions process is well underway. This is the opportunity for individuals, businesses and community groups on their views regarding priorities for the 2023-24 Budget.  Submissions are due by Friday 27 January 2023.

  • SARRAH will be advocating for investment in much needed allied health workforce and service support in rural and remote Australia to address chronic systemic shortfalls. We’ll also push for our service systems to better reflect the realities and needs of rural and remote communities.
  • SARRAH strongly urges members and friends to contribute to the process, either directly and/or through SARRAH. 

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) has developed a draft Sustainable Healthcare Module to add to the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards - recognising the importance of sustainable, adaptable and resilient healthcare services. ACSQHC are inviting you to help shape the future of Australia's sustainable healthcare. The draft Module was developed by healthcare and environmental experts and contains five actions, including sustainability measures and targets. You can access the Module for consultation here.  The consultation will close on 31 January 2023

The National Mental Health Commission is developing a National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy to address mental health-related stigma and discrimination. The Draft Strategy is available for input and feedback, with input due by 1 February 2023. The Commissioner invites you to provide your feedback via an online survey on proposed actions and/or by uploading a submission. 
If you have questions, please reach out via email to

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is inquiring into the extent and nature of poverty in Australia, with a report due by 31 October 2023. The Terms of Reference include – to quote: (c) the impact of poverty on individuals in relation to: (i) employment outcomes, (ii) housing security, (iii) health outcomes, and (iv) education outcomes.  Further detail about the scope of the inquiry is provided in the terms of reference.  Submissions are sought by 3 February 2023.

The Australian Parliament’s House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training is commencing an inquiry into the perceptions and status of vocational education and training.
More information about the inquiry is available here, including the terms of reference.  Submissions are due by Wednesday 1 March 2023


The Joint Standing Committee (JSC) on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).   Inquiry into and report on general issues around the implementation, performance, governance, administration and expenditure of the NDIS .  Submissions close on 30 June 2023

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has commenced a comprehensive review of ANZSCO to reflect the contemporary Australian labour market and better meet stakeholders’ needs. SARRAH has flagged this previously. Further information on how to participate in the upcoming consultations is now available. Resources for the ANZSCO are available at Updating ANZSCO.  Contact if you would like to subscribe to receive communication on the ANZSCO update. 

Independent Review of Health Practitioner Regulatory settings - Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher and Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler announced the review of regulatory settings relating to health practitioner registration and qualification recognition for overseas trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia. The Review, announced by National Cabinet on 30 September 2022, will deliver recommendations designed to ease skills shortages in key health professions - including nursing and midwifery, medicine, psychology, pharmacy, para-medicine and occupational therapy.

  • SARRAH anticipates the review, which will be led by Robyn Kruk AO (former-Director General of NSW Health), will involve a consultation process. We’ll keep you updated.

Health profession National Boards and Ahpra are reviewing the current accreditation arrangements for the national health practitioner regulatory scheme to prepare for the next period to mid-2029. The current accreditation arrangements end on 30 June 2024 for all professions except paramedicine, which end on 30 November 2023. The National Boards and Ahpra intend to complete this scheduled review by May 2023. The last review was in 2018. The review aims to confirm performance and progress on current accreditation priorities and will inform the priorities for the next period, including how progress in priority areas could be measured. You can find the consultation paper here. Feedback is invited from all practitioners, stakeholders and the community. Feedback is also sought on specific questions about the accreditation arrangements including on performance and progress since mid-2019, and possible areas of focus for the next five-years, including how progress in these areas could be measured – and can be provided in two ways by close of business on 14 February 2023: through the response template (online) or a written submission by email, to 

Inquiry into the operation of the National Redress Scheme - The Joint Standing Committee on the Implementation of the National Redress Scheme has commenced a new inquiry into the operation of the Scheme. The Committee invites your views on any or all of the attached terms of reference. Key themes include:

  • The experience of First Nations applicants and applicants with disability in their dealings with the Scheme.
  • Accessibility, performance and effectiveness of support services and legal advice for survivors and their advocates.

The Committee is encouraging us to share this invitation with anyone who may have an interest in the inquiry.
Submissions close on Monday 27 February 2023. You can email your submission to us at Click here for more information on how to make a submission. You can also contact the Secretariat on (02) 6277 4549.More information can be found at:

SARRAH has recently provided submissions to the following consultation processes:

  The Allied Health Rural Generalist
Education and Training Scheme (TAHRGETS)

Grants Available!

Applications Close on 31 January 2023

Registration is now open for the Australasian Nutrition in Healthcare Conference (NIHC) 2023, hosted by health promotion charity Doctors for Nutrition. This year’s
conference will see some of the biggest names in whole food plant-based nutrition and healthcare arrive in Melbourne to meet with you and present their indispensable knowledge and research. Along with an in-depth and enlightening educational program, the conference offers social events, workshops, a cooking demonstration.
and opportunities to connect and network with other delegates, speakers and sponsors. Head over to the website ( to find out more about the conference and register NOW!

SARRAH kindly offered two complimentary delegate passes to the conference, including the welcome reception and conference dinner. Virtual attendance is also an option.
SARRAH calls for an expression of interest from the members to attend the conference.

Terms of SARRAH representation at the conference
Members representing SARRAH at the conference are required to conduct themselves at all times in accordance with the following:

  1. Act ethically, with honesty and integrity in the best interest of the SARRAH.
  2. Report information of significance and issues presented at the conference relevant to SARRAH no later than four weeks after the conference.  

Please express your interest by Wednesday,25 January by sending the following information to SARRAH at
Full Name:
Allied Health Profession:
Alternate email address:
Work organisation:
Attending conference F2F or virtually (Please note that travel and accommodation will be at the member’s own expense, if they wish to attend in-person):
The reason for expressing your interest (maximum of 250 words):

The NSW Government has launched a new round of the Future Women Rural Scholarship Program recently, to help women living in regional, rural and remote NSW achieve their goals. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said 24 scholarships valued at over $6,000 each are available to women from regional, rural and remote parts of the State to develop their leadership skills.
"There are so many amazing women leading communities, leading businesses and leading critical conversations in the bush - and we want to encourage those wanting to step up and do the same," Mr Toole said.

"This program is a great chance for 24 women from all corners of the State to supercharge their leadership potential." Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said, "the program has been an overwhelming success and encouraged women from all corners of regional and rural NSW to take up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." 


RWAV Grants week Webinar Series
RWAV has a range of grants available to you for professional upskilling, continuing education and support for new and expanding businesses. Grants are available for medical practitioners, allied health, nurses and practice staff working in private primary healthcare practices in rural Victoria.
The webinars include information about the appropriate grants for you and how to submit your application. 

Register for the relevant webinar according to your profession/interest below:
Other External Grants 
AUS: Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal Grants
AUS: NAIDOC Local Grants
AUS: NHMRC Partnerships Projects
AUS: National Palliative Care Projects Grants
AUS: Advance Care Planning Grants
AUS: MRFF - Rapid Applied Research Translation Grants
VIC: William Buckland Foundation - Improved Health
VIC: Workforce Scholarship Program (HSWP)
NT: Health Workforce Scholarship Program
NSW: Cancer Screening and Prevention and Cancer Control Grants Program


Complete Advertising Listing Form and submit it to .

  1. Executive Officer: Allied Health Rural Generalist Accreditation Council (0.8FTE) - SARRAH - 25 Jan 2023
  2. Rural Regional Generalist Podiatrist, Port Augusta - 26 Jan 2023
  3. Senior Mental Health Clinician, NT Health - 26 Jan 2023
  4. Occupational Therapist, Riverland Mallee Coorong Health Network, Berri - 26 Jan 2023
  5. Regional Clinical Senior Social Worker - 26 Jan 2023
  6. AHP2 Occupational Therapist, Port August - 27 Jan 2023
  7. Social Worker, Rural Reliever Program, New England - 29 Jan 2023
  8. Physiotherapist, Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network - 30 Jan 2023
  9.  - 31 Jan 2023
  10.  - 31 Jan 2023
  11.  - 31 Jan 2023
  12.  - 31 Jan 2023
  13.  - 31 Jan 2023
  14. Occupational Therapist - Well Balanced Care - 31 Jan 2023
  15. Podiatrist - Experienced and Graduate Opportunities - 31 Jan 2023
  16. Graduate Opportunities - Allied Health - NWRH - 31 Jan 2023
  17. Podiatrist, Yorke and Northern Local Health Network, - 2 Feb 2023
  18. Allied Health Clinician Senior Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs Services, - 6 Feb 2023
  19. Senior Adult Mental Health, Roma - 6 Feb 2023
  20. Mental Health Worker Child and Youth 12 Feb 2023
  21. Mental Health Worker Adult, Charleville -15 Feb 2023
  22. Clinical Pharmacist Rural Development Pathway - 19 Feb 2023
  23. Mental Health Professionals/Wellbeing Clinicians and Social Workers - 28 Feb 2023
  24. Mount Gambier Physiotherapy Candidate Pool (AHP1/2) - 30 Jun 2023
  25.  - 30 June 2023
Job Opportunities - NO Closing date specified.
  1. Pharmacist in Charge, Emerald
  2. Allied Health Assistant, Well Balanced Care 
  3. Lecturer in Nursing and Mental Health, James Cook University
  4. Social & Emotional Wellbeing Officer, Pintupi Homelands Health Service 
  5. Registered Psychologists, outlook Psychology, Nhulunbuy
  6. Psychologist - Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation
  7. Paediatric Speech Pathologist - Rural Generalist Training Program
  8. Community Physiotherapist - Rural Generalist Training Position
  9. SARRAH Temporary/Casual Employment Register
  10. Community Occupational Therapist - Rural Generalist Training Position
  11. Allied Health Rural Generalist Position - Elephant in the Room Training & Consultancy
  12. Pharmacist - Emerald, QLD
  13. Physiotherapist - Eyre and Far North Local Health Network, Port Lincoln
  14. Occupational Therapist - Desert Therapy, Alice Springs
  15. Speech Pathologist - Well Balanced Care
  16. Occupational Therapist - Emerge Allied Health (St Helens)
  17. Physiotherapist - Corryong Health 
  18. Senior Speech Pathologist - Community Allied Health and Aged Care
  19. Psychologist - Well Balanced Care, Cairns
  20. Exercise Physiologist - Active Performance
  21. Speech Therapist - Active Performance
  22. Social Worker - Active Performance
  23. Occupational Therapist - Active Performance
  24. Physiotherapist - Active Performance
  25. Physiotherapist - Corryong Health 
  26. Occupational Therapist - Dundaloo Health Services
  27. Psychologist or Accredited Clinical Social Worker - Dundaloo Health Services
  28. Clinical Educator (Allied Health) - Southern Queensland Rural Health - Charleville
  29. Speech Pathologist Rural Generalist - Mt Isa QLD

Nutrition in Healthcare Conference 2023
7 Feb - 19 Feb, Naarm (Melbourne), VIC

The Australian Private Hospitals 40th National Congress
26 Mar – 28 March, Sydney, NSW
2023 Australian Pain Society 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting 
2 Apr – 5 April, Kamberri (Canberra) ACT
National Telehealth Conference
27 April – 28 April, Hilton Sydney NSW
3RD International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference
14 June – 16 June, Cairns, QLD
National Allied Health Conference 
7 Aug – 9 Aug, Perth, Western Australia
IAHA National Conference
27 Nov – 29 Nov, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Copyright © 2022 Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). All rights reserved.

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Level 2, 53 Blackall Street, Barton, ACT, 2600

Contact us
Phone: 1800 338 061

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