Why was the project needed?
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.
The project identified eight priority actions based on the findings of the desktop-based analysis and stakeholder consultations across the Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory health jurisdictions:
- Support and enhance formal education and training of a fit-for-purpose culturally competent health workforce across all health disciplines and elements of rural health training pipelines;
- Enhance professional support, career development and career pathways for rural health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce across all health disciplines;
- Establish a cross-jurisdictional northern Australian health system network as an independent body;
- Determine need and mechanisms to finance appropriate health service delivery models for rural and remote health service delivery;
- Improve local amenities and infrastructure across sectors to reduce effects of adverse social determinants on health outcomes;
- Undertake trials to develop and scale up place-based planning models;
- Strengthen and grow northern-led research capacity and funding; and
- Explore potential areas of export opportunity that deliver value for northern Australia.
Implementing these actions will: improve the health and productivity of northern Australian populations; reduce health system costs associated with high PPH, duplication of services and workforce turnover; empower local communities to develop solutions and have more control of their health and wellbeing; and strengthen northern Australia’s strategic role and capacity within the broader Asia Pacific region.
Further details can be found in the project reports below.