The primary source of data for the audit has been national data collections, as well as administrative data held by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The most recent data available at February 2008 has been cited throughout the report.

The audit was undertaken by examining data on the health workforce at a state/territory level, by Remoteness Area and also, where possible, at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) level. This data has been sourced from multiple sources, including Medicare, national labour force surveys and the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census of Population and Housing (Census).

Although the Census data does not contain the details of the other collections, essentially just providing a headcount, it has been used to supplement the information from these other sources, particularly as it captures health professionals not covered by other data collections and also because it can be disaggregated to the SLA level. It should be noted, however, that SLAs do not necessarily match natural population boundaries and service delivery patterns. Analysis of the data at this level can produce anomalies, particularly when endeavouring to assess the access of a particular population or community to health professionals and/or services that may be provided through a nearby area.