The 5th National PHN Commissioning Showcase, held in Newcastle on 13-14 Sep 2023, celebrated another impressive year of PHN achievements.

Since their inception in 2015, PHNs have stepped up to play an ever-greater role in coordinating regional primary care responses. PHNs work steadily to rebalance regional health systems towards prevention and shift care closer to home whilst successfully responding to wide-ranging resilience challenges, including bushfires, drought, flooding and COVID-19.

“Really great content and a good spirit of collaboration and sharing”

This year’s showcase was the biggest and most impactful date. A lively crowd of 160 delegates joined from 26 out of 31 PHNs, and 86% of participants rated the event as good or excellent.

The program was packed with inspiring speakers across Australia’s PHNs, and included keynotes from system partners and international commissioning experts.

We were delighted to see such positive feedback from participants on the topics explored and the networking that took place during the Showcase.

The Showcase continues to be a unique event on the PHN calendar where PHNs learn collaboratively, swap notes about innovative practices of PHNs around the country and discover the latest trends from overseas.

The 2023 Showcase Agenda was based on a pulse survey, and the selected topics were:

  • System Reform and Leadership
  • Commissioning with Partners
  • Value-Based Commissioning
  • Streamlining PHN Commissioning
“Great two days, and I look forward to the next one! Thanks to all involved – the working group did an amazing job.”

Over two days, participants enjoyed four engaging keynote speakers, participated in four interactive workshops led by PHNs and their associates, and witnessed 21 presentations showcasing the impactful work across the Australian PHN network. We want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to organising and running the 2023 Showcase. We want to pay a particularly big thank you to:

  • PHN organising committee – Thank you to Amanda Martin (HNECC), Janelle Dufty (Murrumbidgee PHN), Katie Prior, Erica Gilbert & Nik Todorovski (WNSW PHN) and Anna Pickles (North Sydney PHN). The event would not have been possible without this wonderful group of people’s investment of knowledge, time and energy over the past 12 months.
  • Keynote speakers – Thank you to Derek Felton, Tanya McGregor, Dr Paresh Dawda and Tim Blake for sharing their commissioning expertise with the PHN community.
  • PHN speakers – Thank you to all PHN staff who contributed to the event’s mission of sharing insights and learnings by either presenting on the day, creating posters or providing pre-recorded videos for the website.
  • Guest speakers – Thank you to Ray Kelly Jnr. for delivering a remarkable Welcome to Country.
  • Opening address – Thank you to Richard Nankervis, who provided a fascinating overview of the role of PHNs.


Theme 1: System Reform and Leadership

“I enjoyed the variety of presentations and perspectives, particularly hearing the international perspective of Derek.”

Keynote speaker

Derek explained how health services need to change commissioning practices to care more for the individuals in our communities.

PHN Interactive Workshops

Andrew and the team discussed the challenges of primary care in Western and Far West NSW and their vision for change. 

PHN Presentations

Sharon & Anu discussed the implementation of the CHSP consortium and the lessons learnt.

Alison discussed the Brisbane North Health Alliance proof of concept project aiming to reduce emergency department demand.  

The team discussed how place-based commissioning enabled the design of a blended model of care for mental health and alcohol and other drug support needs.

  • Healthy Minds Healthy Lives’ (Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN: Kimberley Lloyd-Jones, Greg Neilson, Emma Foreman & Jen Newbould)

The team discussed their Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drug joint regional strategic planning.

PHN Posters & Pre-recordings

Charles & Alison discussed how robust data analysis identifies priority needs and allows for developing action statements supporting and improving the region’s needs for palliative care services.

  • ‘Coordinating Care through Remote Patient Monitoring’ (Gippsland PHN: Jared Slater)

Jared discussed how Gippsland PHN commissioned 12 general practices to provide care coordination virtually through remote patient monitoring to reduce the high levels of preventable hospitalisations caused by chronic health conditions within the community.


Theme 2: Commissioning with Partners 

“I enjoyed hearing from commissioners from other sectors – Tanya McGregor from SA Health was excellent.”

Keynote Speaker

Tanya explained the commissioning journey for better health comes for Aboriginal Children (0-5 years) in South Australia.

PHN Interactive Workshops

Nyaree detailed how the PHN & IUIH have been empowering First Nations Communities within the region by changing how they commission.

PHN Presentations

Donna provided details and insights into the Peer Enhancement trial, creating well people and resilient communities across the Murrumbidgee.

Monique discussed how the PHN increased access and awareness of services and support within the NBM CALD Communities.

Kylie discussed how they identified a service gap within the community and developed a partnership with SLHD to provide an early intervention speech pathology program to deliver better outcomes.

Hannah & Justine discussed using a population health approach to reduce the emergency department utilisation rate of frail and older people within the areas.

Paul & Georgina discussed improving primary care access within the North Coast by connecting individuals to the right care via Health Connect.

Elise discussed the benefits of community practice & cultural immersion in providing First Nations mental health programs.

PHN Posters & Pre-recordings

Angela discussed how Brisbane South shaped Voluntary Patient Registration to work within the region by co-designing a general practice pilot.

The team discussed how they implemented Think Mental Health to deliver their Head to Health program to combat the barriers to accessing effective treatment within the region.

Rachael discussed CHN’s experience of their Way Back support services pilot program, providing suicide aftercare services to the ACT region.

  • EngAGE’ (HNECC, Trinh Huynh)

Trinh discussed leveraging community partnerships to deliver innovative, cost-effective, and evidence-based exercise programs to reduce social isolation in older adults.

Trinh discussed how HNECC implemented the Smarter Safer Homes pilot to support people with dementia or at risk of mental ill-health on the Central Coast.

  • The Compass Project’ (North-Western Melbourne PHN: (Brendan Park, Nicole Fedke & Suzanne Moore)

The poster demonstrated how NWM PHN connects mental health paediatric specialists and community services.

The poster demonstrated how CESPHN supports the delivery of a GP shared care project to assist GPs and specialist Alcohol and Other Drug services to work together.

Joyleene discussed the development of a toolkit to facilitate identifying, documenting and centralising plans that are in place within residential aged care facilities for the after-hour period.

  • ‘Multicultural health: Improving access and equity through culturally responsive commissioning’ (Brisbane South PHN: Andrea Vancia)

Andrea discussed how the PHN worked on breaking down barriers experienced by CALD communities by implementing culturally responsive services within the region.


Theme 3: Value-Based Commissioning

“Fantastic range of presentations from other PHNs and sponsors. I learnt so much about what others are doing and came away feeling inspired. It was also great to meet so many new people and make connections that can really help with my work.”

Keynote Speaker

Paresh discussed what PHNs could learn from Australia and internationally regarding value-based health care.

PHN Interactive Workshops

The team discussed a three-tier procurement process for mental health focusing on delivering and paying for outcomes.  

Rebbeck Interactive Workshops

Jay discusses how PHNs can accelerate improvement in the health and well-being communities they serve. 

PHN Presentations

  • ‘Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI) Community Impact Initiative (Brisbane South PHN: Craig Cunningham)

Craig discussed the Southern Moreton Bay Island Community Impact Initiative, an innovative shared learning platform to drive change within the community.

Belinda discussed how they undertook work to more fully explore how an integrated, placed-based primary care model in rural and remote regions of Victoria could look by utilising a community-led multidisciplinary model of care program.

  • ‘Addressing health inequities in Melbourne’s North-West’ (North-Western Melbourne PHN: Emma McKeown)

Emma discussed how NWMPHN developed an Access and Equity Framework to provide a foundation for identifying five priority areas of inequitable health outcomes within the region.

The team discussed a collaborative approach to outcomes-focused commissioning with alcohol and other drug services.

Simone discussed ‘We Dare’, a social prescribing co-design approach that addressed the non-clinical unmet community needs of the community.  

Vatan discussed how Adelaide PHN and Northern Adelaide Local Health Network co-designed a medical education program to facilitate Intern Medical Officers.

PHN Posters & Pre-recordings

This poster highlighted a CHN-funded pilot program with social workers embedded in general practices.

  • ‘Developing “I” statements to drive Primary Mental Health Care and Alcohol and Other Drug Service outcomes’ (Gippsland PHN: Katie Foster)

Katie discussed how Gippsland PHN designed a primary mental health care and alcohol and other drug services strategy based on three key I statements, co-designed with service providers, community members and professionals.

In addition to presenting, NWMPHN also developed a poster on their Access and Equity Framework to provide a foundation for identifying five priority areas of inequitable health outcomes within the region.


Theme 4: Streamlining PHN Commissioning

“The event was an excellent opportunity for PHNs to come together and share our work and the innovations happening in our regions.”

Keynote Speaker

Tim discussed using Digital and Data to improve the measurement of commissioning outcomes and processes

PHN Interactive Workshops

  • ‘GitHub – a tool for PHNs’ (North-Western Melbourne PHN: Brendon Wickman & South Western Sydney PHN: David Wales)

Brendon and David discussed how they used GitHub to analyse data consistently and collaborate on data projects, as well as how other PHNs can increase efficiency and work together to improve outcomes through the use of this tool.

PHN Presentations

Claire & Misty described the process of developing continuous quality improvement (CQI) of its commissioned services by establishing a Program Improvement Team.

Gilyan described how Northern Queensland PHN developed a Continuous Quality Improvement Program to improve equity of primary health care services for First Nations People in Northern Queensland.  

Narelle presented how EMPHN, SEMPHN, WVPHN, NWMPHN & GPHN collaborated to streamline the Care Finder procurement process across the Alliance.

Saman discussed how the PHN identified two priority areas from their Health Needs Assessment and how they developed logic models and built strategies to improve outcomes for the community.

PHN Posters & Pre-recordings

The team demonstrated how they utilised a project management approach to implement the new care finder program within the region within 10 months.

Ariana & Naomi presented how the PHN builds community engagement in Melbourne’s North West through a community participation plan.

Suezanne discusses how PHT developed an after-hour support planning toolkit for residential aged care facilities to reduce hospital admissions and improve after-hour medical residential aged care support.



We would also like to thank all the sponsors for the event. The event was proudly sponsored by Cemplicity, Health Services Daily, Health Roundtable, DCI Consulting Group, BMP Consulting, Granicus, Precedence Health Care, eHealthier, Prestantia Health, Innowell, and Healthily. Cemplicity also supported the conference dinner. Thank you all for your generous support. Below are links to the Diamond and Emerald sponsor presentations.

Lastly, we extend our gratitude to all those who provided feedback on the Showcase over the past two weeks. Your valuable input has been instrumental in our commitment to making the next Showcase even more outstanding.

We are delighted to share that 86% of our survey respondents found the event to be good or excellent, and the majority of respondents would recommend the event to a colleague.

For PHN staff who were unable to attend this year’s event, please get in touch with us if you would like an overview of the key insights. Furthermore, we are actively exploring additional channels for disseminating event insights, aiming to accelerate the integration of innovative commissioning practices.

If you would like to learn more about Rebbeck’s partnership with the PHN network and how we collaborate to bring events like this to life, please do not hesitate to contact Anna at or 0433 883 220.