Boosting the Local Care Workforce: Understanding the Allied Health workforce in disability

Katie Bourke1

1Boosting The Local Care Workforce, , Australia


The ‘Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program’ (The Program) was announced in the 2017-18 federal budget as a $33 million dollar program support the growth of service providers in the disability and aged care sectors in regional, rural and outer metropolitan areas across Australia. The Program is being delivered by a consortium consisting of EY, First People’s Disability Network and the Community Services Industry Alliance.

Key aims of The Program are to:

  1. Help service providers attract, retain and optimise their workforce.
  2. Improve service providers’ awareness of the opportunities and abilities to enter, expand and/or collaborate in the disability sector.
  3. Enable service providers to develop some of the skills and capabilities they require to effectively operate in a competitive disability market.
  4. Assist in the identification of issues and gaps present or emerging in local markets to better identify market conditions and inform the development of policy solutions.

Allied health service providers play a large and pivotal role in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), particularly within Capacity Building supports.  With high demand for key professions including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists, there is a need to understand how best to support and sustainably grow this workforce.


The Program is supported by 3 initiatives:

  1. Regional Coordinators
  2. Specialist Coordinators
  3. Sector Transition and Employment Support

Through these, The Program is gathering intelligence on allied health (and wider) workforce challenges and opportunities. The Program is also connecting with a diverse stakeholder group from clinicians and providers to peak bodies, universities and workforce development supports.


Emerging results from The Program include:

  • Developing a broad based of intelligence to understand workforce issues
  • Identifying and connecting solutions and workforce innovations with the sector
  • Connecting across sectors to support regional areas, Indigenous communities and thin markets
  • Supporting providers to find new ways of operating


Katie Is a Physiotherapist with 15 years clinical experience. As part of the ‘Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program’ team, she is working to understand and the issues and promote opportunites for allied health professionals and service poviders unde rthe NDIS.

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