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.