Primary Care in Australia: the state of play – Melbourne

Primary care services are usually our first point of contact with the health system. Services include GPs, pharmacies, dentists, allied health, maternal and child health, community health, indigenous health and women’s health services. However, as Grattan’s report Mapping Primary Care in Australia argues, access problems, missed opportunities for prevention and early intervention, poor coordination for people with complex needs and increased costs in hospitals and other specialist services will continue to be a problem without a national policy framework for primary care and a commitment by Commonwealth and State Governments to implement it.

At this Policy Pitch event, Dr Amanda Kenny, the Violet Marshman Professor of Rural Health at La Trobe University and Dr Hal Swerissen, Fellow, Grattan Institute discussed the state of play for primary care in Australia and options and recommendations for the future.


Dr Amanda Kenny holds a PhD in rural health policy. She is a Professor of Rural and Regional Nursing. In her previous role as Head of School, she led the establishment of the La Trobe Rural Health School, and played a major role in the successful bid for 62.7 million dollars of funding through the Commonwealth Education Investment Fund and the Diversity and Structural Adjustment Fund. Mandy is widely published internationally and is frequently invited as a key speaker at national and international conferences. As an active researcher, her current research focuses on models of rural health service delivery and workforce development. She has a strong interest in consumer participation in health care and health service design. Mandy has conducted extensive research and consultancies for Government, with an emphasis on service design, funding models and workforce development

Hal Swerissen is a Fellow in the Health Program at Grattan Institute and Emeritus Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University. He has an extensive and distinguished record of achievement in health policy research and analysis. He has held senior executive positions as Pro Vice Chancellor (Regional) and Executive Dean of Health Sciences at La Trobe University. He has been a senior advisor to Commonwealth and State governments and has conducted a range of policy and research studies and inquiries. He has published more than 100 academic papers and research reports.


Dr Stephen Duckett is Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute. He has a reputation for creativity, evidence-based innovation and reform in areas ranging from the introduction of activity-based funding for hospitals, to new systems of accountability for the safety of hospital care.