CHF Members Policy Forum

The CHF Members Policy Forum was held at the Shine Dome in Canberra on 12 November and we welcomed almost 60 of our members to what we hope will be the first of many such events.

We have received excellent feedback following the event with members particularly enjoying the chance to talk policy with their peers.

The day was split into three sessions:

  • a scene setting session with invited speakers from the Productivity Commission and a message from Minister Hunt
  • a discussion session to capture feedback from members for CHF’s pre- budget submission
  • a session on long term strategic priorities which covered three key policy areas namely the proposed National Medicines Policy Review, the 10-year Primary Health Care Strategy and the 10 year Preventive Health Strategy.

Scene setting session


[video:<"" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen> width:560 height:315 align:center]


Minister Hunt, through a video message spelt out the Government’s priorities to reform primary health care, to develop a 10-year preventive health strategy and to improve mental health services. He drew attention to the formation of the Youth Health Forum and the constructive relationship he has with CHF. 

Michael Brennan, Chair of the Productivity Commission gave a frank and fascinating overview of how economists view health care. You can view his slides and read his speech here

Professor Stephen King who chairs the productivity commission Inquiry into Mental Health discussed some of the draft key recommendations from that Inquiry. CHF will be responding to the recommendations and invites feedback from members.

Member’s input into pre-budget submissions

The second session was an opportunity for members to make suggestions for what initiatives CHF should include in our submission for the 2020 Federal Budget. We received same great ideas for initiatives from our members and these suggestions are currently being incorporated into our submission. The submission will be circulated to members for feedback prior to being finalised and submitted

Speakers at CHF’s AGM and Members Policy Forum, 12 November 2019. Clockwise from top left: Penny Shakespeare, Deputy Secretary of the Health Financing Group in the Australian Government Department of Health; Tony Lawson, CHF Chair; Micharel Brennan, Chair of the Productivity Commission.

Long term strategic policy developments

The third session gave members a chance to hear updates on the progress of the primary care and preventive health strategies with presentations from departmental officials followed by a robust question and answer session. The session outlined the consultation process to be used for both strategies and explored the issues raised to date. There was a clear feeling in the room that consumers and consumer organisations needed to be engaged at all stages of the development of the strategies. CHF is on the steering committee for both strategies and will continue to consult with members as the strategies are developed to ensure the full spectrum of consumer concerns and solutions are canvassed.

There was also a presentation and discussion around the proposed review of National Medicines Policy. Members had questions about the scope and purpose of the review with much of the discussion focussing on how it can be brought up to date to accommodate the new generation of medicines, therapies and treatments, especially personalised medicines. The review is due to commence in March next year and CHF will be seeking members input throughout the process.


About the author

Consumers Health Forum