From the CEO's desk

The impending release of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report is maintaining media interest this week.  Minister Butler spoke on this subject again on Monday, signalling that "...more of the same is simply not going to cut it": a 'modernised' Medicare will move away from a purely fee-for-service arrangement toward a blended, wraparound funding model with a focus on older people and those living with chronic and complex disease.  Easier said than done, as we know. 

The government's recent decision to halve the number of mental health sessions available under the Better Access program is a case in point. The evaluation that underpinned the decision showed that in 2021, one in every 10 Australians received at least one Better Access service, and one in 20 received at least one session of psychological treatment. However in recent times, the number of treatment services delivered increased more than the number of people treated.  Further, those increased utilisation rates related mostly to females, people aged 15-44 years, and people in major cities in areas with high or medium socioeconomic status. These results point to issues that are very well known to our readership: that increasing the availability of primary healthcare utilising existing mechanisms does not automatically improve access to services for people in lower socioeconomic areas and those living in rural and remote communities. 

While these findings supported the government's logic for reducing the number of sessions available under the Better Access program, the announcement lacked a plan B.  People currently receiving Better Access services, and their providers, have been left to manage the fallout.  We can only hope that the trade-off will come in the next budget: that those living with mental health conditions will be well-served by our new, modernised Medicare, with wraparound supports delivered by a team of health professionals who are well-coordinated and linked up - and well-distributed across regional Australia.

For rural and remote consumers and service providers, the exact mechanisms, infrastructure and workforce (the 'conveyor belt') required to achieve this remains obscure, although it is clear that the most obvious levers the government has to pull include general practice and primary health networks.   That said, SARRAH is represented on a number of advisory groups providing advice to government about the best way to address improving access to primary healthcare, including the Stronger Rural Health Strategy Reference Group, the National Rural Health Commissioner's Advisory Network, and the MBS Taskforce Allied Health Implementation Liaison Group (which is nearing its end).  SARRAH is well-positioned to influence the process of shaping rural policy over these next few critical months ahead of any budget announcements, and we always value your input, so please do get in touch with us if you would like to contribute.

Travel Safe,

In case you missed it: We're busy queuing up our next round of guest speakers on Talking For Purpose, so please enjoy this earlier podcast with Ruth Hardman, as she unpacks for us the challenges of accessing chronic care for rural Australians.
Do you have any themes/topics that you would like to hear us discuss? People you’d like us to interview?  Please drop us an email to our mailbox at

Listen to earlier episodes here.

SARRAH is in the NewsExtracted from ABC News Riverland

Investment needed to foster health students from rural backgrounds, advocacy group says!

More investment is needed to encourage rural residents to pursue a career in health, an advocacy organisation says, to help address growing demand for services across the country.
"The evidence tells us if you are from a rural background to begin with, you are far more likely to want to come and work in rural and remote Australia," says Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) chief executive Cath Maloney. 


We've received a steady trickle of correspondence from various primary health networks since the publication of the National PHN Allied Health in Primary Care Engagement Framework in late November. This is to be expected as PHNs position themselves to become the vehicles by which the Australian Government may seek to introduce new models of primary healthcare that integrate allied health roles - particularly where service gaps exist.

Primary Health Tasmania, one of the few PHNs whose footprint aligns with the state health service and rural workforce agency, has engaged consultants 'to develop a strategic approach to its engagement with Tasmanian allied health providers' - although it looks as though the consultants will be engaging at a peak body-level, not necessarily directly with service providers.There is a risk that those small, local providers may be passed over, and the PHN miss an opportunity to harness the full potential of the private allied health sector - we'll be corresponding with the PHN on this issue. 

What it does illustrate is the challenges associated with engaging effectively with our sector.  Unless individual practice owners are aware that these consultations are occurring and reach out to their local PHN to engage, they may be overlooked.  There is a growing need to ensure effective engagement at every level - federal, state and local - so that allied health professionals are fully engaged in the design of new ways to deliver primary healthcare.

For those actuaries and data geeks among us, the Independent Hospital and Aged Care Pricing Authority has published the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2023-24 and the accompanying Consultation Report. SARRAH was pleased to receive feedback this week from IHACPA regarding our submission:

'IHACPA notes the feedback from SARRAH that COVID-19 may have significant longer term implications, particularly for the provision of care to patients with long COVID-19 in rural and remote communities. IHACPA intends to introduce two new classes for long COVID in the Tier 2 Non-Admitted Services Classification to enable the capture of activity and cost data relating to treating non-admitted patients with long COVID-19. This will improve accuracy in reporting and inform price weight refinement for future NEP Determinations.'

That will help state and federal governments capture activity for this client group presenting to local public hospitals as outpatients - assuming they are correctly diagnosed and classified, and that there is an ambulatory service established (a tier 2 clinic) to deliver interventions to patients with long COVID (let's hope its an allied health-led clinic...).

There is currently no mechanism for similar data capture in primary healthcare settings.  As the pandemic rolls on, and more research undertaken on the incidence, sequelae and prognosis for people with long COVID, this type of data capture will be important.

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.


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 today, 27 January.

  • 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. 

Intellectual Disability Health Core Capabilities - Consultation Survey(Closing today, 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. (Closing today, 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 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 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 on Friday 10 February 2023.

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 

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.

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:

ACSQHC consultation - Primary and Community Healthcare Standards Guide: The draft National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards Guide for Health Services is out for consultation.  SARRAH is a member of the Primary and Community Healthcare Advisory Committee and has been consulted throughout the development of these standards.  We encourage you to review the standards and provide your feedback - either directly to the Commission, or if you prefer, please contact with any comments you may have.  Consultation closes on 28 February 2023.

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 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.
Have Your Say - National Mental Health Commission
National Mental Health Commission is working on a range of new projects to guide national system reform and will be sharing these with you over the coming months. If you wish to be involved or contribute to the Commission’s work in 2023, please register in the Have Your Say consultation platform.
SARRAH has recently provided submissions to the following consultation processes:
  • the Federal Government's 2023-24 Pre-Budget Submission process

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

Grants Available!

Applications Close on 31 January 2023

IAHA News - Extracted from IAHA website.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has engaged Winangali, to lead and design engagements with the First Nations communities and service providers. The Winangali team will conduct a series of workshops with current First Nations home care package (HCP) and Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) recipients. Workshops will also be held with First Nations community organisations and organisations which specialise in providing care to First Nations people.

Their engagement methodology is developed in line with the Closing the Gap, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommendations. These engagements will ensure that the design of in-home aged care and assessments is shaped and influenced by First Nations people for First Nations people to meet their needs. Read more

Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander Study Grant schemes
APA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physiotherapy student scholarship

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) recognises the importance of a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physiotherapy workforce, and the significant contribution that physiotherapists make to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The APA strives to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physiotherapists and grow the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people entering the profession. .
To be eligible, applications must:
  • Be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person; and
  • Be enrolled in a physiotherapy degree at an Australian university.

Applications close 31 January 2023
Read more.

Australian Chiropractic Association Study Grant
It is an ACA initiative designed to encourage and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in chiropractic to complete their studies and join the health workforce. ACA has a strong relationship with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), the national not-for-profit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation, who will be a key partner in the selection and support of the successful candidate.
Applications close 11 February 2023
Read More

Other External Grants 
AUS: Physiotherapy Research Foundation Seeding Grants
AUS: Women in leadership grants
AUS: Disability Leadership Program
AUS: Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) Grants
AUS: QLD: The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation PHD Scholarship
QLD: The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation Research Grants
QLD: Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) Research Grants
SA: Cooperative Research Centre Assistance Program
VIC: Bendigo only: Frances and Harold Abbott Foundation annual granting program
NSW: Start Strong for Community Preschools Program – 2023

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

Complete Advertising Listing Form and submit it to .

  1. AHP2 Occupational Therapist, Port August - 27 Jan 2023
  2. Social Worker, Rural Reliever Program, New England - 29 Jan 2023
  3. Physiotherapist, Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network - 30 Jan 2023
  4.  - 31 Jan 2023
  5.  - 31 Jan 2023
  6.  - 31 Jan 2023
  7.  - 31 Jan 2023
  8.  - 31 Jan 2023
  9. Occupational Therapist - Well Balanced Care - 31 Jan 2023
  10. Podiatrist - Experienced and Graduate Opportunities - 31 Jan 2023
  11. Graduate Opportunities - Allied Health - NWRH - 31 Jan 2023
  12. Podiatrist, Yorke and Northern Local Health Network, - 2 Feb 2023
  13. Allied Health Clinician Senior Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs Services, - 6 Feb 2023
  14. Clinical Senior Occupational Therapist - 6 February 2023
  15. Senior Adult Mental Health, Roma - 6 Feb 2023
  16. Mental Health Worker Child and Youth 12 Feb 2023
  17. Mental Health Worker Adult, Charleville -15 Feb 2023
  18. Physiotherapist Rural Generalist Pathway - 19 February2023
  19. Clinical Pharmacist Rural Development Pathway - 19 Feb 2023
  20. Mental Health Professionals/Wellbeing Clinicians and Social Workers - 28 Feb 2023
  21. Accredited Exercise Physiologist- Rural Fit - 30 April 2023
  22. Mount Gambier Physiotherapy Candidate Pool (AHP1/2) - 30 Jun 2023
  23.  - 30 June 2023
Job Opportunities - NO Closing date specified.
  1. Counsellor/Community Engagement Officer - Relationships, Alice Springs
  2. Physiotherapist -Everybodies Journey -Nhulunbuy
  3. Pharmacist in Charge, Emerald
  4. Allied Health Assistant, Well Balanced Care 
  5. Lecturer in Nursing and Mental Health, James Cook University
  6. Social & Emotional Wellbeing Officer, Pintupi Homelands Health Service 
  7. Registered Psychologists, outlook Psychology, Nhulunbuy
  8. Psychologist - Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation
  9. Paediatric Speech Pathologist - Rural Generalist Training Program
  10. Community Physiotherapist - Rural Generalist Training Position
  11. SARRAH Temporary/Casual Employment Register
  12. Community Occupational Therapist - Rural Generalist Training Position
  13. Allied Health Rural Generalist Position - Elephant in the Room Training & Consultancy
  14. Pharmacist - Emerald, QLD
  15. Physiotherapist - Eyre and Far North Local Health Network, Port Lincoln
  16. Occupational Therapist - Desert Therapy, Alice Springs
  17. Speech Pathologist - Well Balanced Care
  18. Occupational Therapist - Emerge Allied Health (St Helens)
  19. Physiotherapist - Corryong Health 
  20. Senior Speech Pathologist - Community Allied Health and Aged Care
  21. Psychologist - Well Balanced Care, Cairns
  22. Exercise Physiologist - Active Performance
  23. Speech Therapist - Active Performance
  24. Social Worker - Active Performance
  25. Occupational Therapist - Active Performance
  26. Physiotherapist - Active Performance
  27. Physiotherapist - Corryong Health 
  28. Occupational Therapist - Dundaloo Health Services
  29. Psychologist or Accredited Clinical Social Worker - Dundaloo Health Services
  30. Clinical Educator (Allied Health) - Southern Queensland Rural Health - Charleville
  31. Speech Pathologist Rural Generalist - Mt Isa 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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