Distribution Working Group

The Distribution Working Group (DWG) provides us with independent expert advice on policies and programs that aim to improve access to medical services.

Role

The Distribution Working Group (DWG) provides us and the Minister for Health and Aged Care with independent advice on:

  • policies, programs, and tools that aim to distribute the Australian medical workforce in an equitable way – these include:
  • applications to change an area’s DPA classification
  • other relevant issues that we or the minister identify.

A new DWG was formed in June 2023.

Previous DWGs met between 2017 and 2022. See their archived terms of reference

Terms of reference

For more detail about the DWG’s roles and responsibilities, see the current terms of reference.

Members

The Assistant Secretary of our Distribution Branch chairs the group. It consists of 2 independent advisors and representatives from the:

  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Australian Medical Association
  • Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges
  • Lowitija Institute
  • National Rural Health Alliance
  • National Rural Health Commissioner
  • Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Rural Doctors Association of Australia
  • Consumers Health Forum of Australia.

A Distribution Technical Advisory Group (DTAG) supports the DWG by providing more technical advice on:

  • medical workforce distribution tools
  • the methodology for determining distribution decisions
  • policy options to improve access to doctors.

Meetings

The DWG aims to meet 3 times a year or as required.

Exceptional circumstances reviews and outcomes

The DWG:

  • reviews requests to change an area’s DPA classification
  • makes recommendations to the minister.

See how to request a review of a DPA classification.

We publish the outcomes of reviews and upload any changes into the Health Workforce Locator.

The most recent outcomes include:

State/territoryGP catchmentDPA status outcomeOutcome summary
ACTMolongloNot Granted

The  DPA classification of Molonglo was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • Assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate relatively high levels of GP service in this catchment (36% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 70% over the four years to 2022.
  • In the same period, GP FTE has increased by 104%, which has exceeded population growth by 34%. 
  • The catchment has an elderly and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population lower than the national average.
  • The catchment has low socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Molonglo as low. The ABS 
    Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 5 
    (1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

QLDBrowns PlainsNot Granted

The DPA classification of Browns Plains was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 11% over the four years to 2022.
  • GP FTE has increased by 0.3% over the same period but has failed to keep pace with population growth by 10.7%.
  • However, assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate relatively adequate levels of GP service access in this catchment (19% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has an elderly population below the national average and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population slightly above the national average. 
  • The catchment has a moderate level of socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists 
    socio-economic disadvantage as moderate and the ABS Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 2 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

QLDCleveland - StradbrokeNot Granted

The DPA classification of Cleveland-Stradbroke was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 6% over the four years to 2022.
  • GP FTE has increased by 2% over the same period but has not kept pace with population growth by almost 4%.
  • However, assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate adequate levels of GP service access in this catchment (19% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has an elderly population above the national average and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population below the national average. 
  • The catchment has socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Cleveland-Stradbroke as low and the ABS Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 4 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment does not meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

VICBurnsideNot Granted

The DPA classification of Burnside was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 13% over the four years to 2022.
  • In the same period, GP FTE has decreased slightly by 1%, with GP FTE which has not kept keep pace with population growth. 
  • However, assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate relatively high levels of GP service in this catchment (35% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has an elderly and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population lower than the national average.
  • The catchment has low socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Burnside as low and the ABS Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 5 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

VICLilydale - Yarra ValleyNot Granted

The DPA classification of Lilydale-Yarra Valley was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • Assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate adequate levels of GP service in this catchment (14% above the benchmark).
  • Population in the catchment decreased by 1% over the four years to 2022.
  • In the same period, GP FTE also decreased by 1%, keeping pace with population growth.
  • The catchment has an elderly population equal to the national average and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population below the national average.
  • The catchment has low socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Molonglo as low and the ABS 
    Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 5 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

VICTullamarine - BroadmeadowsNot Granted

The DPA classification of Tullamarine-Broadmeadows was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 12% over the four years to 2022.
  • In the same period, GP FTE has increased by 2.5%, which has not kept pace with population growth by 14.5%.
  • However, assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate adequate levels of GP service access in this catchment (27% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has an elderly and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population below the national average. 
  • The catchment experiences moderate levels of 
    socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Tullamarine-Broadmeadows as moderate, and the ABS 
    Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 2 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

WAWanneroo - Quinns RocksNot Granted

The DPA classification of Wanneroo-Quinns Rocks was considered by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) in October 2023. The following factors were considered:

  • The catchment has experienced population growth of 6% over the four years to 2022.
  • During the same period, GP FTE has decreased by 8%, with GP FTE failing to keep pace with population growth by 14%.
  • However, assessment against current DPA benchmarks indicate adequate levels of GP service access in this catchment (10% above the benchmark).
  • The catchment has an elderly and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population below the national average. 
  • The catchment experiences some socio-economic disadvantage. The Visa for GPs program lists socio-economic disadvantage for Wanneroo-Quinns Rocks as low, and the ABS Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) indicator is 4 (with 1 being most disadvantaged and 5 being least disadvantaged).

The Minister’s decision is that DPA status is not granted as the catchment is not considered to meet the requirements for exceptional circumstances.

See previous exceptional circumstances reviews and outcomes.

Contact

To contact us with general enquiries about the committee you can use our online form.

Distribution Working Group secretariat

DWG members, Rural Workforce Agencies (RWAs) and Public Health Networks can use this email to contact the secretariat.
Date last updated: