“A Seamless Experience”

In March 2019 Hobart welcomed 1,200 delegates for the 15th National Rural Health Conference: Better Together! For 4 days, attendees from all across Australia learnt, listened and shared ideas about how to improve health outcomes in rural and remote Australia. All whilst, enjoying some of Hobart’s little quirks and unique experiences. We loved playing host to this event and we weren’t the only one as everyone around town did as well.

Here’s a snapshot of how the event played out and what 1,200 delegates got up to in Hobart.

The Facts:

  • 1,200 delegates
  • 4 days
  • 30 keynote speakers
  • 50 concurrent sessions featuring 220+ presenters
  • 40 poster presentations
  • 75 trade exhibitors
  • Gala Dinner for 900 held at Princes Wharf 1
  • Welcome Reception (Sunday) & Networking Evening (Tuesday) both held in the Federation Ballroom

As Australia’s premier rural health event, this biennial conference is supported by a diverse mix of professionals working across all facets of Australia’s diverse Rural Health community.

After a full day of pre-conference workshops, the official proceedings got underway on Sunday afternoon with the official opening plenary sessions.  Delegates were then given their first opportunity to experience some Tasmanian hospitality at the Welcome Reception held onsite at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart.

Monday saw the main conference program really hit its stride with the start of the 50 concurrent sessions featuring 220+ presenters which continued until the conclusion of the conference on Wednesday afternoon.

With both the Welcome Reception (Sunday) and Casual Networking Night (Tuesday) both being held in the Federation Ballroom at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, delegates were happy to explore a bit more of Hobart’s waterfront precinct as they made the short walk across to the Princes Wharf 1, the venue for the Conference Dinner & Rural Health Awards.

When asked about her experience in Hobart at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Leanne Coleman, Manager – Conference & Events at the National Rural Health Alliance said that ‘the experience has been seamless. The Conference had 1,200 delegates and we could easily fit into the plenary hall. The venue catered for 75 exhibitors, ten concurrent sessions at any one time, over 230 speakers and 21 Keynote speakers.’

‘The venue was more than big enough, and it was nice for delegates to be able to stay on site or very close by.’

Similar to many conferences now, the National Rural Health Alliance was committed to working with the venue to ensure their event left as little an environmental footprint as possible.  This commitment was noted, with Coleman stating ‘The Hotel Grand Chancellor has been fantastic and one of the impressive features was their commitment to recycling and reducing food waste.  There was not a plastic straw or bottle to be seen.’

Coleman said one of the highlights of hosting the conference in Hobart was working with the local community and seeking cultural advice from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

“The rural health sector is a friendly bunch and the last thing we want is to breeze into a town, have a meeting and breeze out,” she said.

“It is important to us to have the local community on board.”

Want to know more about how your event could work in Hobart, then please let us know. We’d be happy to talk to you about all the options available to make your next conference a stand out event for your organisation.

About the National Rural Health Alliance Conference

Representing 37 different national organisations, the National Rural Health Alliance works to improve the health and wellbeing of 7 million people in rural and remote Australia.

This biennial conference provides a forum for delegates to learn, listen and share ideas about how to improve health outcomes in rural and remote Australia.

Proudly managed by the National Rural Health Alliance, the Conference has a well-earned reputation as Australia’s premier rural health event.  Not just for health professionals, the Conference recognises the critical roles that education, regional development and infrastructure play in determining health outcomes, and we welcome people working across a wide variety of industries.

Members of the National Rural Health Alliance include consumer groups (such as the Country Women’s Association of Australia), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector (NACCHO and the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association), health professional organisations (representing doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, paramedics, health students, chiropractors and health service managers) and service providers (such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service).

This large and diverse membership gives the Alliance a comprehensive and authentic view of the health interests of rural and remote Australia.

Outcomes of the conference

One of the most important products of the 15th National Rural Health Conference was the set of recommendations for action to improve the health and wellbeing of people in rural and remote areas in Australia.

Delegates were invited to participate both prior to and during the conference, in the compilation of a set of recommendations that would then be presented to the Minister for Rural Health at the conclusion of the conference.

The process was moderated by the Conference Recommendations Committee, led by Professor Jenny May, whose members scrutinised the recommendations submitted during the Conference.  A roundtable meeting was held during the Conference where delegates could ask questions of the Committee.  Jenny May regularly reported on progress throughout the Conference and delivered the final set of priority recommendations to Senator Bridget McKenzie, the minister responsible for rural health, during the final Plenary Session.

For more information on the National Rural Health Alliance, please visit https://ruralhealth.org.au/