Creating a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Northern Australia

Economic assessment of disability models of care in remote communities

Economic assessment of disability models of care in remote communities
  • Reference # H.5.2021046
  • Timeframe 2 years
  • Project Status Current
  • Location Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Weipa, Galiwinku
  • Total project value $656,255.00
  • Project manager Ian Biggs
  • Research Programs 5. Northern health service delivery innovation
  • Health service delivery


Remote and rural communities across Northern Australia have fewer health professionals, particularly allied health services. This lack of services and preventive health care often leads to more expensive costs associated with avoidable hospital admissions and preventable medical treatments.

Currently, State, Territory or Federal governments or their agencies like NDIS require economic modelling and businesses cases before funding ongoing disability and rehabilitation services. These analyses need to be conducted for the remote and rural context and include input from the local communities.

This project will implement and evaluate a flexible new service model with communities in Nhulunbuy (NT) and Weipa (Qld).

The new model of care to be evaluated is a student-assisted model where funding is provided for an allied health professional who in addition to direct service provision also supervises and mentors allied health professional students to deliver health services. This model is to be funded through a shared FTE model (Service and Learning Consortia) where several agencies provide funding for a (varying) fraction of the services to be delivered at two different locations.

Expected outcomes

  • The implementation and evaluation of a new model of student-assisted disability and rehabilitation care
  • Assessment of economic costs and consequences of two existing and one new model of disability and rehabilitation care
  • Assessment of community engagement and responsiveness to the new service delivery model
  • Preparation of a business case for government for sustainable funding of appropriate allied health service delivery in remote communities across Northern Australia