Independent review of health practitioner regulatory settings

National Cabinet has commissioned a review of Australia’s regulatory settings for health professionals. It will consider ways to help ease health workforce shortages while maintaining high standards in health care quality and patient safety.

About the review

On 30 September 2022, National Cabinet announced an independently-led review of Australia’s regulatory settings. The review covers health practitioner registration, skill and qualification recognition for overseas trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia.

The review process will involve consultation with relevant stakeholders to ensure feedback helps deliver the health workforce Australia needs to provide high-quality health services.

The review will complement the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (Ahpra’s) projects on skill and qualification recognition in critical sectors. The review also links with other related work, including the review of Australia’s migration system.

Supporting the review are:

  • the Department of Health and Aged Care
  • the Regulatory Reform Division of the Department of Finance
  • state and territory governments.

Why it is important

The review will recommend how to streamline and simplify health practitioner regulation, with an aim to ease skills shortages in critical health professions. The review will also focus on how to maintain quality and safety standards designed to protect patients.

Shortages in critical health professions have become more acute as Australia transitions to ‘Living with COVID’. Ensuring Australia’s settings for health practitioner regulation are flexible, efficient and streamlined will ensure they can respond quickly and effectively to future pressures.


The review will consider whether regulatory settings for international health practitioners seeking registration in Australia are:

  • fit for purpose
  • comparable with similar countries
  • not imposing unnecessary barriers or compliance costs on migrants and employers.

Terms of reference

Independent reviewer

On 8 December 2022, the Australian Government appointed Ms Robyn Kruk AO to lead the review.

Ms Kruk brings a wealth of senior experience in the health and social care sectors, having served in state and Australian Government agency head roles. Including:

  • Secretary of NSW Health
  • NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission.

Ms Kruk has led other independent reviews such as:


Final report

The final report was endorsed by National Cabinet on 6 December 2023. The report recommends reforms to streamline regulatory settings to make it simpler, quicker and cheaper for international health practitioners to work in Australia.

The final report contains 28 recommendations, grouped into 5 broad reform areas:

  • improve the applicant experience
  • expand fast track registration pathways
  • improve workforce data and planning
  • increase flexibility, while ensuring safety and quality of care
  • enhance regulator performance and stewardship.

Read the final report.

Implementing the recommendations

The Health Workforce Taskforce (HWT) will oversee implementation of the recommendations over the next 18 months. Implementation will involve:

  • state, territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions
  • the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra)
  • national boards
  • accreditation authorities
  • specialist medical colleges.

Implementation updates

Reform area: Expand fast track registration pathways

Recommendation 9

Introduce or expand expedited pathways to registration for all professions in acknowledged areas of shortage

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and Ahpra are looking at ways to streamline the pathway for specialist international medical graduates. The HWT has identified 4 priority areas for this project:

  • anaesthesia
  • general practice
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • psychiatry.

An advisory group of key stakeholders will work with Ahpra and the MBA as part of this review.

Learn more on the:

Reform area: Improve workforce data and planning

Recommendation 18

National Maternity Workforce Strategy

A project to develop a National Maternity Workforce Strategy is underway. Its goal is to understand:

  • existing maternity strategies and plans
  • key models of care
  • the workforce that delivers these in Australia.

The review will be completed by April 2024.

For more information, contact the project team.

Allied Health Workforce Strategy

This strategy is being developed by a steering group that includes:

  • the Australian Government's Chief Allied Health Officer (CAHO)
  • the corresponding officers, or their representatives, from each state and territory
  • executive leads from these Government agencies
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Department of Social Services
    • National Disability Insurance Agency.

For more information, contact the Chief Allied Health Officer.


Independent review of health practitioner regulatory settings contact

National Cabinet has commissioned a review of Australia’s regulatory settings for health professionals.
Date last updated:

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