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On 21 May 2024, AHPA QLD President Kym Strachan, QLD Committee member Susan Breckenridge, and AHPA Executive Officer Rebecca Zosel attended a consultation with KPMG to inform development of a Public Health Workforce Strategy for Queensland, following on from the 2023 Queensland Public Health Review conducted by Dr Tarun Weeramanthri.

The two-hour virtual session for professional associations had six attendees, including AHPA’s three representatives, one from the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), and two environmental health officers.

Attendees were invited to provide insights on current and future challenges and opportunities to help ensure that Queensland has an optimised and sustainable public health workforce that is positioned to meet current and future public health challenges. The focus areas that were discussed are provided below.

QLD PH Workforce Strategy Agenda Professional Associations page 0003

AHPA provided insights into the historic challenges of the QLD political environment for public health and the devastating impact of fluctuating commitment and investment. The team profiled AHPA’s work to build workforce capacity (e.g., training and events), support career pathways in health promotion (e.g., mentoring and internship programs), and promote health promotion practitioner registration.

Some key messages included:

  • It was unanimously agreed that collaboration across the sector is not just beneficial but essential to developing the public health workforce. Queensland Health is encouraged to work hand in hand with all peak bodies, including AHPA and PHAA, to build the capacity of the workforce.
  • One key concern was the need for strong support for new graduates. The transition from study to employment can be challenging, and ongoing support is crucial at this point and throughout the career journey.
  • Workforce registration and accreditation is critical to ensuring a quality and credible workforce.
  • Further work to increase investment in prevention is required. The sector has a role in holding Governments to account regarding the commitment of the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030: “Investment in preventive health will rise to be 5% of total health expenditure across Commonwealth, state and territory governments by 2030”.

AHPA looks forward to continued collaboration with Queensland Health throughout the development, implementation and evaluation of a Public Health Workforce Strategy for Queensland.

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