About the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner

The ONRHC provides policy advice to the minister responsible for rural health. The National Rural Health Commissioner leads work to improve rural health policies and ensure there remains a strong focus on the health needs of rural communities.

The Australian Government established the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner (ONRHC) in 2017 to support reforms of rural health in Australia.

The ONRHC’s areas of reform include:

  • primary health care
  • health workforce
  • training.

The ONRHC drives innovation, with a clear focus on supporting on-the-ground improvements.

Deputy commissioners provide expertise across a range of rural health disciplines such as nursing, allied health and Indigenous health.

Aims

The ONRHC’s aims include:

  • working towards system-wide improvements in health outcomes for regional, rural and remote communities of Australia
  • promoting innovation in rural medicine, including better service delivery and sustainability
  • improving the health of people who live in rural areas
  • improving rural health policies
  • providing a rural focus to our strategies, policies and plans to ensure we consider the needs of rural Australians
  • ensuring rural initiatives are aligned
  • strengthening the rural training pipeline and improving rural health workforce retention.

The ONRHC does not provide services, grants or funding for unsolicited projects or campaigns. It does not get involved in individual cases or advocate for individual people or groups.

Statutory appointment

The National Rural Health Commissioner is an independent, statutory office holder appointed under Part VA of the Health Insurance Act 1973

As part of its legislative requirements the ONRHC prepares an annual report for the Minister for Regional Health for presentation to Parliament.

Statements of expectation and intent

At the beginning of each term:

  • the minister sends the commissioner a statement of expectations that sets out the priorities for the term
  • the commissioner responds with a statement of intent describing the approach to fulfilling the minister’s expectations.

The statement provides more detail on how the commissioner will carry out their role.

Who the ONRHC works with

The office works with:

  • regional, rural and remote communities
  • the health sector
  • universities
  • specialist training colleges
  • state, territory and local governments.

The Advisory Network to the National Rural Health Commissioner (ANNRHC) provides input to the commissioner’s work.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives members of the public the right to access information held by the Australian Government and its agencies. Under the FOI Act, you can seek access to documents the ONRHC holds.

To do this you must:

  • send a written request, stating that your request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide enough information to clearly identify the documents you want
  • send your request by post or email.

Contact

Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner contact

The Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner (ONRHC) provides policy advice to the minister responsible for rural health. Contact them about their work to support reforms of rural health in Australia.
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