In 2011, the Federal Parliament passed the National Health Reform Act 2011 (NHR Act) which established the Commission as a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

The Commission’s governance structure is determined by these Acts. The Commission is jointly funded by all governments on a cost sharing basis, and the Commission’s annual program of work is developed in consultation with the Australian, state and territory Health Ministers.

The Commission works in partnership with patients, consumers, clinicians, managers, policy makers and healthcare organisations to achieve a sustainable, safe and high-quality health system. The Commission’s strategic priorities are in the areas of:

  • Safe delivery of health care
  • Partnering with consumers
  • Partnering with healthcare professionals
  • Quality, value and outcomes.

The Commission’s planned activities are shaped by these four strategic priorities and align with the functions of the Commission set out in the NHR Act.

The Commission Board, appointed by the Minister for Health, is responsible for governing the Commission and meeting its functions and responsibilities under legislation. In undertaking its work the Commission is supported by the Inter-Jurisdictional Committee (IJC), which is made up of senior safety and quality managers from the Australian Government Department of Health, and the Department of Health from each state and territory. In addition, the Board has established sub-committees in the form of the Private Hospital Sector Committee and Primary Care Committee that provide a valuable connection with representatives from the private and public sectors.

Program initiatives are informed by external advisory committees, working groups, public consultation and workshops. Proposals are then referred to the IJC and Board sub-committees for review and input before consideration by the Commission Board. Major Commission proposals are forwarded to the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council. The Commission is situated in Sydney and is managed on a day to day basis by its CEO, Adjunct Professor Debora Picone AO.