Regulatory principles for the National Scheme

These regulatory principles underpin the work of the Boards and AHPRA in regulating Australia’s health practitioners, in the public interest. They shape our thinking about regulatory decision-making and have been designed to encourage a responsive, risk-based approach to regulation across all professions.


The Boards and AHPRA administer and comply with the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory. The scope of our work is defined by the National Law.


We protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered.


While we balance all the objectives of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, our primary consideration is to protect the public.


When we are considering an application for registration, or when we become aware of concerns about a health practitioner, we protect the public by taking timely and necessary action under the National Law.


In all areas of our work we:

  • identify the risks that we are obliged to respond to
  • assess the likelihood and possible consequences of the risks, and
  • respond in ways that are proportionate and manage risks so we can adequately protect the public.

This does not only apply to the way in which we manage individual practitioners but in all of our regulatory decision-making, including in the development of standards, policies, codes and guidelines.


When we take action about practitioners, we use the minimum regulatory force appropriate to manage the risk posed by their practice, to protect the public. Our actions are designed to protect the public and not to punish practitioners.

While our actions are not intended to punish, we acknowledge that practitioners will sometimes feel that our actions are punitive.


Community confidence in health practitioner regulation is important. Our response to risk considers the need to uphold professional standards and maintain public confidence in the regulated health professions.


We work with our stakeholders, including the public and professional associations, to achieve good and protective outcomes. We do not represent the health professions or health practitioners. However, we will work with practitioners and their representatives to achieve outcomes that protect the public.

Read the media release on regulatory principles from 1 July 2014.

Download a PDF of the Regulatory principles (97.5 KB,PDF).

Page reviewed 5/10/2020