Regulation Impact Statement Updates

Official website for publishing regulatory impact analysis information for regulatory decisions announced by the Australian Government, COAG and COAG Councils.

Stronger Rural Health Strategy

Aust Gov
29th March 2019

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Health  

On 11 March 2019, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs made the following instruments:

The instruments give effect to the Stronger Rural Health Strategy - Overseas trained doctors in areas of doctor shortage initiative, which seeks to ensure the right balance of specialist General Practitioners (GPs) is available to the Australian community while also providing opportunities for Australian trained doctors. The instruments require all employers wishing to nominate a doctor for a position in one of three occupations—General Practitioner, Resident Medical Officer, and Medical Practitioners not elsewhere classified— under the skilled migration program to have a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC), provided by a Rural Workforce Agency (RWA). A HWC is a letter issued by a RWA confirming the genuine need to fill a primary healthcare position at a given location in Australia by a doctor.

The Stronger Rural Health Strategy (the Strategy) announced as part of the 2018-19 Budget aims to build a sustainable, high quality health workforce distributed according to community need, particularly in rural and remote communities. The Strategy includes a range of incentives, targeted funding and bonding arrangements and will give doctors more opportunities to train and practice in rural and remote Australia. It will also enable a stronger role for nurses and allied health professionals in the delivery of more multidisciplinary, team based models of primary health care.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) examining the Strategy was prepared by the Department of Health and has been assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). While the RIS sought to provide an explanation for need for change, the OBPR view was that it did not sufficiently explain oversupply in the GP context or fully draw out the risks this type of major reform presents to the broader health system. Noting the complexity of the labour market and the multiple layers of policy that interact with it,  the decision would have been better informed by greater analysis of the key drivers expected to incentivise Vocationally Recognised GPs to both move and remain in regional areas. The RIS was therefore assessed as not quite achieving best practice.

The Department estimates the reforms will result in a net increase in regulatory burden of $0.57 million dollars a year. The OBPR has agreed to this estimate.

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