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Annual Report

The Northern Australia Health Service Delivery Situational Analysis project is an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA). The project is a policy-focussed consultancy that involves the production of a health-sector-focussed situational analysis report following extensive stakeholder consultation across the north.

The analysis will identify the key challenges and opportunities facing the northern Australian health service delivery sector and health workforce and strategic development priorities for future investment.

The contracted project participants comprise:

  • James Cook University (project leader)
  • Northern Territory Top End Health Service
  • University of Western Australia Rural Clinical School
  • Hospital and Health Services in northern Queensland through the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre.

These consortium partners are working closely with state and territory government departments and health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and other health and community stakeholder groups using a collaborative scoping and problem-solving approach.

The six-month project consists of two stages:

  • Stage 1: a scoping review of publications, policy documents and report; analysis of health sector export and demand opportunities; analysis of government-partnered workforce and research projects; and a cost-benefit analysis of development scenarios. These analyses were compiled into a draft situational analysis report for consultation in October 2019 (link below).
  • Stage 2: discussion and engagement with stakeholders across northern Australia to refine the draft report and inform the development of a policy action plan (October 2019 to February 2020).

Why are we undertaking this project?

Communities across northern Australia face similar issues in health care delivery, with small dispersed populations, sometimes challenging geographies, limited resources and workforce and proximity to developing tropical economies in Asia and the Pacific.

Despite the shared context of health care delivery, planning and responses to health care challenges are often siloed between the three northern jurisdictions. There is an opportunity to take a northern Australia -wide view in identifying and communicating the key challenges and areas for future development and opportunity.

Expected outcomes:

Following a phased process involving desktop review, synthesis and stakeholder consultation over six months, the final outputs of the project will be reported with recommendations on priority areas for action, opportunities for collaboration and policy and sector-specific briefings. The report and other summary outputs will provide a foundation for health sector collaboration, advocacy, funding and policy development.

The goal of the project is to improve the health and prosperity of northern Australian communities through identifying strategic long-term development and growth opportunities for the northern Australian health service delivery sector and health workforce.

How can you contribute?

The project team welcomes engagement and suggested resources to ensure that our work is representative of the key issues. We are contacting a wide range of stakeholder organisations to invite input to inform this work, and jurisdictional expert advisory panels have been convened to provide advice at all stages. Your assistance in three ways will help us to ensure that the final report reflects your priorities:

  • Participate in one of our workshops being held across the north between October-December 2019, which will help us to strengthen the report and recommendations. The aim of the workshops is to give participants the opportunity to provide input and critique of the preliminary project findings and for the team to seek advice from participants on prioritisation of project recommendations and timeframes for policy action (see workshop schedule below).
  • Provide feedback on the draft situational analysis report (link below), either by email to the project team or by adding comments in the comments box below.
  • Assist our team to locate and access documents and reports to inform the analysis. We are particularly interested in work that has been done to highlight successful health sector programs and interventions, whether from northern Australia or other national/ international contexts. We intend to scaffold our final policy recommendations with evidence on what works, for whom, and in what contexts.

Schedule of consultation workshops (all in local times unless otherwise indicated):

Workshop location

Date and time

Mt Isa (workshop 1)

25 Oct 10:30am to 12:30pm

Mt Isa (workshop 2)

28 Oct 10:00am to 12:00pm


31 October 12:00pm to 2:00pm


6 Nov 10:00am to 12:00pm


8 Nov 9:00am to 11:00am


11 Nov 10:00am to 12:00pm

Alice Springs

12 Nov 10:00am to 12:00pm

Thursday Island

13 Nov 11:00am to 1:00pm

Darwin (workshop 1)

13 Nov 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Darwin (workshop 2)

14 Nov 8:30am to 10:30am


14 Nov 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Tennant Creek

15 Nov 10:30am to 12:30pm


19 Nov 10:00am to 12:00pm


25 Nov 3:00pm to 5:00pm


26 Nov 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Port Hedland

27 Nov 3:00pm to 5:00pm


28 Nov 2:00pm to 4:00pm


3 Dec 8:30am to 10:30am

Cross-jurisdictional videoconference

(using Zoom)

11 Dec 2:00pm to 4:00pm (AEST)

Key documents and contact information:

You can access the draft situational analysis document here: [link]

The references are in a separate document, available here: [link]

We have developed a short webinar version of the workshop presentation which provides a summary of main findings from the draft report – available here: [link].

We welcome your comments and feedback using the ‘feedback’ function below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact our JCU-based project team (Alex Edelman, Prof Maxine Whittaker, Prof Sarah Larkins, A/Prof Steph Topp and Jasmine Bell) by emailing

Background to the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA):

The CRCNA was established by the Australian Government in 2017 as a core element of the Government’s agenda for developing the north. With a budget of $75 million over ten years, the CRCNA brings together industry, research organisations and the three northern jurisdictions of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland to identify and resource developmental opportunities in key industry areas including food, agriculture and health.


Feedback form

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