The Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC) was established by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) in 1995 to provide information and analysis to AHMAC and the profession about the medical workforce to inform the policy process. This article provides a brief history of the events leading to the formation of AMWAC and of the work of this committee, particularly its approach to medical workforce planning and the outcomes of some of its research. The paper concludes that the forces leading to and maintaining workforce geographic and structural maldistribution are better understood as a result of AMWAC studies and the work of other stakeholders. Further research is required to improve understanding of the hospital medical workforce and the factors influencing the career decisions of young doctors and to monitor the impact of strategies to improve workforce distribution.
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