AHCRA actively advocates for a better and fairer health system via the media and through targeted health-related publications. AHCRA regularly releases media statements on health issues, including policy initiatives, dental care, population health issues and other key topics. AHCRA representatives are frequently contacted by the media for comments and have appeared in print, radio and television coverage of health issues. AHCRA representatives also speak regularly at key health conferences and events to promote ACHRA’s objectives.
AHCRA has campaigned for major changes to the Australian health system, both independently and in collaboration with other stakeholders. From 2011, AHCRA has collaborated with the other members of the National Oral Health Alliance (NOHA) to advocate for significant changes to the dental care system. This resulted in significant additional funding being allocated to dental services targeting children and people on low incomes. When this funding was threatened by government budget cuts, AHCRA campaigned strongly for its continuation, along with NOHA and other oral health stakeholders. AHCRA is currently campaigning for a universal dental care system for all Australians which recognises oral health as a fundamental component of overall physical health.
Other campaigns AHCRA supports include the Close the Gap campaign (focussed on reducing the current health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians) and it supports the Social Determinants of Health Alliance which advocates for greater recognition of social determinants in driving a healthy and prosperous nation.
AHCRA undertakes regular lobbying of key parliamentarians and bureaucrats on health issues. Approximately twice a year (depending on the electoral cycle) AHCRA takes a delegation of the Executive to Parliament House to meet with parliamentarians from all political parties to present AHCRA’s proposals for health reform. These meetings have established ongoing and productive relationships between AHCRA and parliamentary representatives which support AHCRA in influencing policy.
AHCRA also provides submissions to Senate Inquiries and participates in other consultation processes on key health policy and legislative issues.
AHCRA holds a biennial Summit which brings AHCRA members together with leading health experts to discuss and debate ACHRA’s agenda for the following two years. These events are attended by a broad range of stakeholders, including Ministers and other parliamentarians, academics, clinicians, bureaucrats, health service managers, peak bodies and community groups. At the most recent Summit, delegates endorsed AHCRA’s health care principles and nominated mental health and Indigenous health as two main areas of focus for AHCRA for coming years or for the current period
AHCRA has produced a number of resources on health reform issues, including policy background papers, submissions, policy studies and reports of specific events and consultation processes. Key recent documents include a report analysing progress of the current government’s health reform agenda against criteria based on AHCRA’s principles. AHCRA has also published a series of background briefing papers on current priority issues. These resources are developed with input from the AHCRA membership and are informed by the experience of members working in all sectors of the health system.