The commissioner and deputies

The National Rural Health Commissioner leads the office’s work on rural health, with help from 2 deputy commissioners.

The National Rural Health Commissioner

The role

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

Commissioners must have experience in rural health (such as medical, nursing, allied health or Indigenous health).

The minister with responsibility for rural health appoints the commissioner for a term of up to 2 years. The appointment can be full time or part time.

The commissioner will:

  • carry out duties as directed by the responsible minister for rural health, as well as independent duties
  • not delegate their powers or functions to anyone else
  • not have financial delegation powers
  • be assisted by departmental officers
  • not have specific employment powers
  • not be able to engage consultants to assist in fulfilling his or her duties.

The commissioner

Adjunct Professor Ruth Stewart was appointed as the second National Rural Health Commissioner for Australia in July 2020. She brings to this role nearly 30 years of work as a rural generalist doctor with the advanced skills of a general practice obstetrician and 20 years’ experience in rural medical education. View her contact for more about Professor Stewart.

National Rural Health Commissioner

Professor Ruth Stewart is the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Deputies

Deputies assist the commissioner with the ONRHC's work.

Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner – Allied Health and Indigenous Health

Associate Professor Dr Faye McMillan AM is the Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner – Allied Health and Indigenous Health.

Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner – Nursing and Midwifery

Adjunct Professor Shelley Nowlan is the Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner – Nursing and Midwifery.
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