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4.10 Health Portfolio

The Health Portfolio’s role is to achieve the Commonwealth Government’s prioritises for health by developing evidence based policies, managing health programmes and undertaking research and regulatory activities.

Matters dealt with by the portfolio include public health, health promotion and disease prevention, primary health care, hospitals funding and policy, health research, pharmaceutical benefits, health benefits schemes, hearing services policy and funding, specific health services (including human quarantine), national drug strategy, regulation of therapeutic goods, notification and assessment of industrial chemicals, gene technology regulation, medical indemnity insurance issues, private health insurance, blood and organ policy and funding, health workforce capacity, mental health policy and primary mental health care, ageing research, and sport.

The Minister administers 64 pieces of legislation ranging from the Australian Hearing Services Act 1991 to the World Health Organization Act 1947. The portfolio receives total resourcing of $51.2 billion of which $1.7 billion is departmental funding and $49.5 billion is administered funding. The number of people employed in the Health Portfolio is around 5,500.

The Health Portfolio incorporates 21 portfolio agencies and four statutory office holders who exercise independent statutory functions with administrative support from the Department. The statutory office holders are the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, the National Health Funding Pool Administrator, Gene Technology Regulator, and Director of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.

The structure of the Department of Health is based around the key sectors of the health system and several cross-portfolio functions such as medical benefits, pharmaceutical benefits, acute care, primary care, population health, mental health and drug treatment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and the health workforce.

Other key areas include the Office of Health Protection which manages detection, prevention and response to threats to public health and safety, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration which regulates therapeutic goods including medicines, medical devices, blood and blood products.

Table 4.10.1: Portfolio resourcing: Health
 

Funding ($'000)

Staffing

Entity

Departmental

Administered

Total

ASL

Department of Health

690,490

47,338,336

48,028,827

3,260

Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care

11,031

-

11,031

58

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

52,236

-

52,236

315

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

20,804

-

20,804

118

General Practice Education and Training Limited

249,515

-

249,515

61

Health Workforce Australia

209,868

-

209,868

140

Private Health Insurance Administration Council

6,915

-

6,915

35

Australian National Preventive Health Agency

5,532

33,281

38,813

40

Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority

5,846

39,680

45,526

28

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

17,824

10,046

27,870

153

Cancer Australia

12,584

17,618

30,202

72

Independent Hospital Pricing Authority

13,609

12,090

25,699

59

National Blood Authority

6,234

1,158,778

1,165,012

53

National Health and Medical Research Council

43,423

834,690

878,113

217

National Health Funding Body

4,360

-

4,360

21

National Health Performance Authority

11,481

22,136

33,617

53

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

2,273

-

2,273

12

Professional Services Review

6,246

-

6,246

23

National Mental Health Commission

3,012

3,504

6,516

13

Australian Sports Commission

297,565

-

297,565

696

Australian Sports Anti‑Doping Authority

14,383

-

14,383

74

PORTFOLIO (1)

1,685,231

49,470,159

51,155,391

5,501

Source: Department of Finance. 201314 Budget updated for machinery of government changes.
(1) As individual entity resourcing includes inter-agency transfers and payments, total resourcing for the portfolio may be overstated by this amount.

Twenty portfolio agencies manage specific outcomes to support the health care system. The size of the organisations and nature of their work vary considerably with the total resourcing for the National Blood Authority (nearly $1.2 billion) and the National Health and Medical Research Council ($878.1 million) being at the top end of the spectrum compared to smaller agencies such as the National Health Funding Body ($4.4 million), Professional Services Review ($6.2 million), the National Mental Health Commission ($6.5 million), and the Private Health Insurance Administration Council ($6.9 million).

Chart 4.10.1 is a graphical representation of the relative size of bodies within the Health Portfolio.

 

Chart 4.10.1: Health

 

This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.

This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.