HWA was established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) as a national health workforce agency through the 2008 National Partnership Agreement on Hospital and Health Workforce Reform (NPA). It commenced operations in January 2010 following the enactment of the Health Workforce Australia Act 2009.
HWA is a Commonwealth statutory authority and takes direction from the Standing Council on Health (SCoH), which comprises the nine Health Ministers of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.
In establishing HWA, COAG recognised that a national coordinated approach was needed to create a health workforce able to meet the current and future healthcare needs of all communities. COAG recognised that without strategic and coordinated reform, the demand could not be met and the challenges could not be overcome. It recognised that reform must be national and large-scale and that it must cut across jurisdictional, sectoral and professional boundaries.
HWA is leading the implementation of this reform effort and is working in partnership with the government, higher education and training sector, health sector, employers, professions and regulatory bodies.
HWA delivers a work program that supports its goal of building a sustainable health workforce for Australia.