Policy context

Australia needs a health care system that keeps people well, not just one that looks after them when they are sick. The Australian Government is committed to building a stronger primary health care system that is more efficient, lowers rates of avoidable hospital admissions, reduces health inequalities and improves health outcomes.

The Australian Government is taking action through its National Health and Hospitals Network.

The National Health and Hospitals Network will ensure that services are designed around the needs of patients, with a strong orientation towards prevention, early intervention and high quality integrated care. This will also take pressure off our public hospitals and improve the financial sustainability of our health and hospital system.

A strong primary health care sector is critical to the future success of our health care system. It focuses on keeping people well and able to participate in life and work, rather than just looking after them when they are sick.

Building on its commitment to taking funding and policy responsibility for GP and primary health care, the Australian Government will also strengthen these services to ensure patients receive better care in the community, and ensure Australians have better and more convenient access to these services close to home. Top of page

The National Health and Hospital Reform Commission Report June 2009 and the National Primary Health Care Strategy identified infrastructure as a key building block for primary health care reform in Australia. It is an important catalyst for new models of primary health care delivery that provide a more extensive array of services in a single location. Appropriate infrastructure enables and supports integrated services delivered by teams of health professionals and improved training opportunities for GPs, nurses and allied health care professionals.

The Australian Government has recognised the importance of supporting the infrastructure needs in primary health care by already committing $275.2 million to establish 36 GP Super Clinics around Australia, enhancing the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program and investing significantly in teaching and training facilities around the country.
As part of its commitment to improved primary health care infrastructure, the Australian Government will build on its initial investment by providing further funding of $355.2 million over four years. This funding will provide for the construction of 28 new GP Super Clinics and assist general practices, primary health care and community health services, and Aboriginal Medical Services across the country to enhance the capacity of their premises to deliver GP Super Clinic-style services.

The funding for enhancements to these existing premises is being provided through the new Primary Care Infrastructure Grants initiative.

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How will the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants initiative work?

The infrastructure needs of existing general practices, primary health care and community health services, and Aboriginal Medical Services vary. Three streams of grants funding are available under the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants initiative, which provide flexibility in addressing these differing needs.

Funding will be made available through an annual competitive application round for each grant stream in each of 2010 and 2011. The funds will be managed flexibly across the three grant streams but will not exceed in total $64.5 million in 2010-11 and $52.5 million in 2011-12.

It is anticipated that the grants in 2011-12 could potentially comprise:

  • Stream A - $15 million for grants of up to $150,000 each;
  • Stream B - $15 million for grants of up to $300,000 each; and
  • Stream C - $22.5 million for grants of up to $500,000 each. Top of page

The program objectives

The Primary Care Infrastructure Grant initiative has five Objectives across the three grant streams. These Objectives are to:

  1. Upgrade or extend existing premises to provide space for additional general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals and/or students on clinical placements;
  2. Provide access to new services that meet local community health needs with a focus on preventative activities and better chronic disease management;
  3. Strengthen team-based approaches to the delivery of care by providing, for example, additional space for case conferencing and/or group activities such as lifestyle modification clinics and/or shared service delivery by more than one health professional;
  4. Provide extended hours of service where these do not exist, for example additional services in the early morning, later in the evening or on weekends; and
  5. Develop new, or enhance existing, clinical training facilities.
The specific Objectives relating to each grant stream are identified below. Top of page

Selection criteria

The selection criteria for the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants are as follows:

  1. The potential for the proposal to achieve the Objectives as specified for each grant stream, as indicated below; and
  2. The efficient and effective use of the funds.

    Applicants should note that, in considering the extent to which the application meets selection criterion 2, the Application Assessment Panel will have regard to the following:

    • The relative merit of each application;
    • The geographic location of the applicant’s existing premises and the existence of similar organisations in the area capable of achieving the same outcomes;
    • The existence or otherwise of other funding sources available to the applicant for a capital works project;
    • Whether the premises is accredited against relevant industry and/or training standards or is progressing towards this; and
    • Contributions by other funding sources to the project which either increase the overall value of the project without increasing the value of the funds provided by the Commonwealth under this Program; or reduce the Commonwealth’s financial contribution but still achieve the same objectives. Top of page
Ranking applications of equal merit

Where one or more applications is found to be of equal merit, the relative merit of the applications will be determined by the Application Assessment Panel having regard to the extent to which the evidence in the application demonstrates that the existing premises is located in an area with one or more of the following features:

  • Poor access to health services;
  • Poor health infrastructure and or coordination;
  • Where a Primary Care Infrastructure Grant could help take pressure off the emergency department of a local hospital;
  • High levels of chronic disease and/or populations with high health needs, such as large numbers of children or the elderly; or
  • High population growth or anticipated high population growth.
In establishing the ranking, applications which demonstrate two of these features will rank higher than applications which demonstrate one of these features, and so on.

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Selection Criteria Stream A – Grants of up to $150,000

Selection criterion 1:
The potential for the proposal to achieve Objectives 1 and 2, namely:

  1. Upgrade or extend existing premises to provide space for additional general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals and/or students on clinical placements;

    AND
  2. Provide access to new services that meet local community health needs with a focus on preventative activities and better chronic disease management.
Selection criterion 2:
The efficient and effective use of the funds.

Applicants should note that, in considering the extent to which the application meets selection criterion 2, the Application Assessment Panel will have regard to the following:

  • The relative merit of each application;
  • The geographic location of the applicant’s existing premises and the existence of similar organisations in the area capable of achieving the same outcomes;
  • The existence or otherwise of other funding sources available to the applicant for a capital works project;
  • Whether the premises is accredited against relevant industry and/or training standards or is progressing towards this; and
  • Contributions by other funding sources to the project which either increase the overall value of the project without increasing the value of the funds provided by the Commonwealth under this Program; or reduce the Commonwealth’s financial contribution but still achieve the same objectives. Top of page
Ranking applications of equal merit
Where one or more applications is found to be of equal merit, the relative merit of the applications will be determined by the Application Assessment Panel having regard to the extent to which the evidence in the application demonstrates that the existing premises is located in an area with one or more of the following features:
  • Poor access to health services;
  • Poor health infrastructure and or coordination;
  • Where a Primary Care Infrastructure Grant could help take pressure off the emergency department of a local hospital;
  • High levels of chronic disease and/or populations with high health needs, such as large numbers of children or the elderly; or
  • High population growth or anticipated high population growth.
In establishing the ranking, applications which demonstrate two of these features will rank higher than applications which demonstrate one of these features, and so on.
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Selection Criteria Stream B – Grants of up to $300,000

Selection criterion 1:
The potential for the proposal to achieve Objectives 1, 2, 3 and 4 namely:

  1. Upgrade or extend existing premises to provide space for additional general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals and/or students on clinical placements;

    AND
  2. Provide access to new services that meet local community health needs with a focus on preventative activities and better chronic disease management;

    AND
  3. Strengthen team-based approaches to the delivery of care by providing, for example, additional space for case conferencing and/or group activities such as lifestyle modification clinics and/or shared service delivery by more than one health professional;

    AND
  4. Provide extended hours of service where these do not exist, for example additional services in the early morning, later in the evening or on weekends. Top of page

Selection criterion 2:
The efficient and effective use of the funds.

Applicants should note that, in considering the extent to which the application meets selection criterion 2, the Application Assessment Panel will have regard to the following:

  • The relative merit of each application;
  • The geographic location of the applicant’s existing premises and the existence of similar organisations in the area capable of achieving the same outcomes;
  • The existence or otherwise of other funding sources available to the applicant for a capital works project;
  • Whether the premises is accredited against relevant industry and/or training standards or is progressing towards this; and
  • Contributions by other funding sources to the project which either increase the overall value of the project without increasing the value of the funds provided by the Commonwealth under this Program; or reduce the Commonwealth’s financial contribution but still achieve the same objectives. Top of page
Ranking applications of equal merit

Where one or more applications is found to be of equal merit, the relative merit of the applications will be determined by the Application Assessment Panel having regard to the extent to which the evidence in the application demonstrates that the existing premises is located in an area with one or more of the following features:

  • Poor access to health services;
  • Poor health infrastructure and or coordination;
  • Where a Primary Care Infrastructure Grant could help take pressure off the emergency department of a local hospital;
  • High levels of chronic disease and/or populations with high health needs, such as large numbers of children or the elderly; or
  • High population growth or anticipated high population growth.
In establishing the ranking, applications which demonstrate two or more of these features will rank higher than applications which demonstrate one of these features, and so on.
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Selection Criteria Stream C – Grants of up to $500,000

Selection criterion 1:
The potential for the proposal to achieve Objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 namely:
  1. Upgrade or extend existing premises to provide space for additional general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals and/or students on clinical placements;

    AND
  2. Provide access to new services that meet local community health needs with a focus on preventative activities and better chronic disease management;

    AND
  3. Strengthen team-based approaches to the delivery of care by providing, for example, additional space for case conferencing and/or group activities such as lifestyle modification clinics and/or shared service delivery by more than one health professional;

    AND
  4. Provide extended hours of service where these do not exist, for example additional services in the early morning, later in the evening or on weekends;

    AND
  5. Develop new, or enhance existing, clinical training facilities. Top of page

Selection criterion 2:
The efficient and effective use of the funds.

Applicants should note that, in considering the extent to which the application meets selection criterion 2, the Application Assessment Panel will have regard to the following:

  • The relative merit of each application;
  • The geographic location of the applicant’s existing premises and the existence of similar organisations in the area capable of achieving the same outcomes;
  • The existence or otherwise of other funding sources available to the applicant for a capital works project;
  • Whether the premises is accredited against relevant industry and/or training standards or is progressing towards this; and
  • Contributions by other funding sources to the project which either increase the overall value of the project without increasing the value of the funds provided by the Commonwealth under this Program; or reduce the Commonwealth’s financial contribution but still achieve the same objectives. Top of page
Ranking applications of equal merit
Where one or more applications is found to be of equal merit, the relative merit of the applications will be determined by the Application Assessment Panel having regard to the extent to which the evidence in the application demonstrates that the existing premises is located in an area with one or more of the following features:
  • Poor access to health services;
  • Poor health infrastructure and or coordination;
  • Where a Primary Care Infrastructure Grant could help take pressure off the emergency department of a local hospital;
  • High levels of chronic disease and/or populations with high health needs, such as large numbers of children or the elderly; or
  • High population growth or anticipated high population growth.
In establishing the ranking, applications which demonstrate two or more of these features will rank higher than applications which demonstrate one of these features, and so on.