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Message from the Administrator

​Photo of Michael Lambert, the Administrator

I would like to thank the NHFB CEO, Shannon White, and the excellent NHFB staff for their dedicated work in supporting me to fulfil our mutual obligations and responsibilities.

Michael Lambert
National Health Funding Pool


The challenge of operating in a COVID-19 environment continued into 2020-21, with its direct impact on the community, the economy and the health system, including on public hospital activity. This has also generated additional demands on the staff at NHFB and the Payments System, which have both proved equal to the occasion. Overall, the year has been highly productive with significant positive developments.

National Health Reform Funding and Annual Reconciliation

In 2020-21, $56 billion in NHR payments were made from a total of $55 billion in Commonwealth, State and Territory funding contributions and cash at bank. Local Hospital Networks were paid $54 billion, with the balance paid to State and Territory Health Departments. Of the $56 billion in funding, the Commonwealth contributed $22.4 billion, with States and Territories contributing $33.6 billion.

The 2019-20 Annual Reconciliation of Commonwealth NHR funding was completed on time, in March 2021, involving adjusting Commonwealth payments for differences between estimated and actual public hospital services delivered.

Consistency and Transparency of Public Hospital Funding

The Addendum requires the Administrator to produce an annual Maintenance of Effort Report. Throughout 2020-21, with support from the NHFB, there have been many productive bilateral discussions with States and Territories on in-scope and out-of-scope funding flowing through the Pool. This will continue to be an important agenda item for bilateral discussions with States and Territories in 2021-22.

The Year Ahead

During the coming year, Shannon White and I will actively engage with all jurisdictional stakeholders and with partner agencies such as the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). Building on our achievements over the last year, our future priorities include:

  • working with all jurisdictions to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the 2020-2025 Addendum to the National Health Reform Agreement
  • working with the AIHW and all jurisdictions to improve the transparency, consistency and timeliness of public hospital funding information
  • undertaking funding integrity in full consultation with all jurisdictions
  • exploring with the ACSQHC and the IHPA ways to encourage and facilitate improved quality and safety in health care and avoiding unnecessary hospitalisations
  • working with the IHPA to ensure financial neutrality between private and public patients in public hospitals
  • progressing further enhancements to the Payments System and website to improve the transparency of public hospital funding.