National Women's Health Policy

Development of the National Women's Health Policy 2010

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

Listening to women has, again, been a driving force in developing this policy, and engaging with women from many different groups has helped make the policy a reflection of the needs voiced by Australian women today. What women have said through the policy consultations and submission process has been incorporated into this policy.

The consultation process began with the release of the paper Developing a Women’s Health Policy for Australia: Setting the Scene by the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP.

On 12 March 2009, 15 women’s health organisations were invited to attend a National Women’s Health Policy Roundtable in Canberra. The Development of a New National Women’s Health Policy: Consultation Discussion Paper was released at this time. These organisations were asked to consult with their members and provide submissions on what they considered the priority issues for
women’s health to be, 20 years after the release of the first policy. These submissions accurately marked out the scope of the concerns that women subsequently raised through the consultation process.

In September and October 2009, community consultation meetings were held across Australia to seek feedback on the discussion paper Development of a New National Women’s Health Policy: Consultation Discussion Paper. The consultations provided an opportunity for other national groups, community organisations and individuals to contribute to the policy and were held in all major capital cities and in rural centres including Alice Springs, Bendigo, Cairns, Fitzroy Crossing, Launceston, Port Augusta and Taree. More than 700 women attended the 15 forums to give their thoughts on the proposals in the paper.

To ensure that the views of Aboriginal women were reflected in the consultations, the Australian Government funded the Australian Women’s Health Network Aboriginal Women’s Talking Circle to hold and report on consultations with some 400 Aboriginal women throughout Australia.

When consultations closed, more than 170 organisations and individuals had put in submissions. The submissions contain valuable data about the position of women in Australia today as well as suggestions for action and models of effective action already in place. The submissions have provided a valuable basis to guide the content and principles of this policy.

The common themes from the consultations are presented in this section. The full list of those organisations and individuals that contributed to the policy is given in Appendix A. While not every idea raised in the consultations was able to be included in this policy, those issues and principles raised a number of times form the framework for this policy.