What we're doing about allied health

We develop policies and run programs to strengthen the allied health sector in Australia. Our Chief Allied Health Officer leads our work in this field.

Our role in allied health

Allied health is a growing and dynamic field that plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of the community. The Australian Government is working to ensure that every Australian community has access to the allied health services they need.

The following areas will be important over the coming years.

National Allied Health Workforce Strategy

We are working with state and territory governments to develop a National Allied Health Workforce Strategy, as recommended in the Independent review of Australia’s regulatory settings relating to overseas health practitioners final report.

This strategy will:

  • help to address national allied health workforce issues, including the shortage of allied health professionals in Australia.
  • consider how these issues may vary across the sectors where allied health professionals work, to better align the supply of allied health professionals with existing and predicted need.

We will develop the strategy in 2 phases:

We expect to complete the strategy by early 2025.

Current status 

We are currently gathering and consolidating evidence to support the drafting of the strategy. We will use this to identify common challenges experienced across sectors and any new and emerging issues that should be considered in the strategy. We are placing a strong focus on:

  • understanding the overarching factors and reforms that influence allied health workforce supply, demand, safety and quality
  • reviewing the relevant policies, strategies and models of care currently in place that impact the allied health workforce
  • recognising gaps in allied health data collection
  • analysing workforce issues by each sector in which allied health professionals work. 

Stakeholder consultation

Stakeholder consultation is an important part of this process, and will occur throughout the evidence collection and drafting phase to confirm and build on findings. 

The first tranche of public consultations is currently open. A survey on the proposed draft outline of the National Allied Health Workforce Strategy is available on our consultation hub. The draft outline and additional background information on the strategy are also available in the consultation hub. The survey will remain open until Tuesday 9 July 2024

We are also planning in-depth stakeholder webinars for July and August 2024. Subscribe to allied health updates to keep up to date with the strategy development.

Increasing access to services in rural and remote Australia

Australians living in rural and remote areas have less access to allied health services than those living in more built-up areas. This is due to both a shortage of allied health professionals in those areas, and poor distribution of the available workers.

We fund:

National Allied Health Virtual Research Forum

The Chief Allied Health Office with support from the Australian Allied Health Professors held a National Allied Health Virtual Research Forum in April 2024. The forum showcased allied health research that was ready to be adopted into policy. It also featured two keynote speakers and a panel discussion on aligning allied health research and government policy priorities.

You can watch a recording of the forum or view the slides.

Biennial summit

The Australian and New Zealand Governments’ Chief Allied Health Officers co-convened the first Australia/New Zealand Summit on the value of allied health care. Held in August 2022, future summits will be held every 2 years.

The summit was held virtually, over 2 half days, and attracted over 950 health professionals, professional bodies, researchers, and policy makers. The 2022 theme was demonstrating the value and utility of allied health care. The summit included a series of presentations showcasing research papers and case studies as well as a facilitated panel discussion.

If you have any questions about the summit please contact us.

Watch the recordings

Read the presentations

Presentations are available on the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Allied Health Summit web page, under the downloads heading.

See a special illustration that was commissioned during the summit.

COVID-19

Although the majority of cases are considered mild, some COVID-19 patients might need long-term support with their rehabilitation.

Allied health professionals play a vital role in supporting their recovery. This can include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, social workers and pharmacists.

Contact your health professional if you have ongoing symptoms after recovering from COVID-19.

We ran regular webinars between 2020 and 2023 to keep the allied health sector updated on the rapidly changing situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. See our webinar recordings.

Health workforce programs

We are working on a range of health workforce programs to ensure Australia has a world-class health system, supported by a highly trained, qualified and well-distributed health workforce.

Programs related to allied health include:

Chief Allied Health Officer

The role of the Chief Allied Health Officer is to raise awareness of the role and value of allied health care in Australia; build and strengthen engagement with the allied health sector; and support the development and implementation of allied health policy within the primary care sector and health system more broadly.

The Chief Allied Health Officer’s work complements the work of the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, and the National Rural Health Commissioner.

This role supports:

Chief Allied Health Officer

We are recruiting a senior executive to fill the position of the Australian Government’s Chief Allied Health Officer.
Office of the Chief Allied Health Officer

Chief Allied Health Officer updates and newsletters

Subscribe to our allied health sector updates to keep informed of relevant allied health news. You can also access previous newsletters and updates from our subscription page.

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