AHPA member meeting with the Minister for Health

On 20 February PACFA joined nearly thirty other allied health organisations in a meeting with the Hon Greg Hunt, Minister for Health. The purpose of the meeting was to present a strong and united allied health front and advocate for strengthening the role of allied health as a growing, expanding and diverse group of professions in Australia.

The participating organisations, including PACFA, are all members of Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) , the peak body for allied health in Australia.

AHPA members advocated for several key outcomes, including:

  • the appointment of a dedicated Chief Allied Health Officer at the national level
  • increased recognition of allied health in current and future primary care delivery, including through Primary Health Network (PHN) governance
  • enhanced workplace planning and data collection across all allied health professions

In response, the Minister gave a clear acknowledgement of the Health Department’s responsibility for allied health. Minister Hunt also noted that in response to the recent report from the National Rural Health Commissioner, the Government has committed to establishing the new role of Deputy Rural Health Commissioner for Allied Health.

More flexible models of care, including expanded use of technology, will be central to developing a new 10 year primary care plan and the Minister acknowledged the importance of allied health in the delivery of primary care.

Minister Hunt requested further information from AHPA regarding workforce planning and data collection, allied health representation through the role of PHNS, and the need for a dedicated Chief Allied Health Officer.

PACFA will provide feedback to the Minister through AHPA on the urgent need for legislative and policy recognition of counsellors and psychotherapists, to facilitate our inclusion in workforce data collection and to strengthen the Australian mental health workforce through enhanced recognition of the counselling and psychotherapy profession.

It was incredibly valuable for PACFA to have this opportunity to engage directly with the Minister and to further develop our relationship with other AHPA members. Many allied health professions face similar challenges to those faced by our members and we look forward to further collaboration at the national level.