APNA welcomes new Health and Aged Care Secretary

Media Release 16 June 2023 


The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) has welcomed the appointment of Blair Comley PSM as Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. 

APNA President Karen Booth said that she looked forward to working with someone of Mr Comley’s merit to address the issues facing the primary health care nursing workforce. 

“I welcome Mr Comley to his new role leading the Department of Health and Aged Care,” Ms Booth said.  

“The primary health care sector is an issues-rich environment with a lot of moving parts, and Mr Comley has the experience and the qualifications to realise the reforms that are already underway in this sector.” 

“Primary health care nurses are the biggest workforce in the primary health care sector and are integral to successfully implementing the Albanese Government’s plan to move Medicare towards a multidisciplinary team-based care approach,” Ms Booth said. 

“Despite the pressures on the health care system, primary health care nurses are currently underutilised. They are ready, willing, and able to do more. They are highly motivated, highly educated, and highly experienced.” 

“The Albanese Government’s Federal Budget announcement of Medicare reforms around a multidisciplinary model of care lays the groundwork for structural change, but there is more work to be done.”  

“APNA looks forward to working with Mr Comley and his Department to implement these Medicare reforms as efficiently and quickly as possible,” Ms Booth said. 

“I’d also like to recognise the contribution made by the previous Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care Professor Brendan Murphy AC, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. APNA wishes him well in his retirement,” Ms Booth said. 

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


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