Revised regulatory principles – supporting trust and confidence in regulated health professions

05 Oct 2021

The revised regulatory principles encourage a culturally safe, responsive and risk-based approach to regulation. 

The regulatory principles guide the National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) when making regulatory decisions. Originally published in 2014, they have been updated to reflect both community expectations and a direction from the Health Council to strengthen the focus on public protection within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme).

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said, ‘community confidence in the regulation of health practitioners is critical to a safe and effective health system. 

‘The revised regulatory principles reinforce that public safety is the primary concern in our regulatory decision making. They also reflect the unique role that the National Boards and Ahpra can play in developing a culturally safe and respectful health workforce.’

Overall, the changes:

  • reinforce that public protection is the paramount objective of the National Scheme
  • recognise the role of the National Boards and Ahpra in developing a culturally safe and respectful health workforce
  • consider the risks to the public including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and members of the community who are vulnerable to harm 
  • embed fairness and transparency, and 
  • highlight the importance of maintaining community confidence in regulated health professions and working with consumer bodies to achieve this. 

Forum of NRAS Co-Chair Mr Brett Simmonds said, ‘the community can have trust and confidence in regulated health practitioners.

‘The revised regulatory principles support a regulatory response that is fair and transparent and maintains professional standards of practice while considering varying risk to the public.’

The regulatory principles are part of broader work to advance community confidence and trust in regulated health practitioners, including:


Over the past several years, Health Ministers and their departments have been carrying out work to amend the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) to strengthen public protection and ensure the effective operation of the National Scheme.

On 31 October 2019, Health Ministers approved the drafting of a further tranche of amendments to the National Law and agreed to issue two policy directions in support of reforms to improve public protection. These policy directions were released in January 2020. 

  • Policy Direction 2019-01 - Paramountcy of public protection when administering the National Scheme.
  • Policy Direction 2019-02 - Requirements to consult with patient safety bodies and health care consumer bodies on every new and revised registration standard, code and guidelines.

From March to May 2021, the National Boards and Ahpra carried out a public consultation on the revised regulatory principles for the National Scheme. A range of stakeholders submitted responses, including community organisations, professional associations, jurisdictions (Commonwealth and state/territory health departments) and other regulatory bodies. The revised regulatory principles reflect this feedback.

Submissions are available on Past consultations page on the Ahpra website. 

Further information 

  • Submissions are available on Past consultations page on the Ahpra website. 
  • Media enquiries 03 8708 9200.
Page reviewed 5/10/2021