How we support the rural health workforce

We develop policies and run programs to support the rural health workforce.

Policy and strategy

Our Stronger Rural Health Strategy is a package of initiatives building a sustainable, high-quality health workforce that meets the needs of all communities.

We also fund programs, often delivered by third parties, to encourage health professionals to work in rural and remote areas.

We also do work specific to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

Programs and initiatives

We fund a broad range of programs that:

  • encourage health professionals to work in rural areas
  • improve access to health care and aged care for those living in regional Australia.

See the list of our rural health workforce programs.  

Committees and groups

Distribution Working Group

The Distribution Working Group provides advice to us on using geographic distribution systems for health workforce planning.

Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable

The Rural Health Stakeholder Roundtable brings together key stakeholders to discuss rural health and develop health policies.

Who we work with

National Rural Health Commissioner

The Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner provides policy advice to the Minister for Regional Health.

Rural Workforce Agencies

A network of 7 Rural Workforce Agencies deliver programs in each state and the Northern Territory. They target communities that are experiencing difficulties attracting and retaining health professionals into regional, rural and remote areas.

These agencies work with local practices, communities and other organisations to ensure that rural Australia is served by a skilled, well-supported health workforce.


We help fund a network of rural clinical schools and departments of rural health run by universities through the:

Specialist colleges

Our Australian General Practice Training program funds the training of 1,500 doctors each year through:

Through the Specialist Training Program, we work with a number of specialist colleges.

Primary Health Networks

Primary Health Networks are independent organisations that we fund to coordinate primary health care in their region.

Remote Area Health Corps

We fund the Remote Area Health Corps in the Northern Territory. The program offers short-term placements in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities.

Private and non-government organisations

Through our funded programs, we work with private and non-government organisations to support the delivery of health workforce programs.

Date last updated:

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