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Message from the Chief Executive Officer

Photo of Dr Zena Burgess

Zena Burgess

Chief Executive Officer

PhD, MBA, MEd, DipEdPsych, BA, FAPS, FAICD


This has been a year of great advances for the RACGP, and I am delighted with the consistent and coordinated efforts made by everyone to ensure that the RACGP remains a dynamic force at the forefront of general practice education and advocacy. Membership has grown, our responsibilities have expanded, and we are offering more and better services and opportunities for our members.

We were delighted with the response to our first ever Practice Owners National Conference, which had approximately 480 attendees, with the second attracting 720 attendees. Creating more targeted conferences is the latest in a series of innovations aimed at providing our members with pertinent business and clinical information, partnering and networking opportunities, and mentoring and assistance.

A major win this year was our successful international bid to host the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) World Conference in 2022. WONCA 2022 will mark 50 years since the global meeting was first held in Australia, and is expected to attract over 4000 family doctors from around the world.

This year we welcomed 1562 new members and are now more than 40,000 members strong. I am also extraordinarily proud that we have more than 50% female members, with the Board boasting 43% and faculty councils 49% female representation, something other organisations can only dream about. We are also proud of our 19,000 rural members, with more than 8500 living and working in rural and remote Australia.

We have continued to look at how we can better use technology to deliver services and engage with members. We are reviewing our member app with a focus on making it much easier to log and track continuing professional development (CPD) activities. newsGP, which we launched last year, has become one of the most widely read medical news services in Australia, having published more than 1000 articles and generated more than 1.3 million page views.

The RACGP is now four years into a five-year plan to raise community awareness through our brand campaign. Since launching this campaign, RACGP membership has grown from 37,138 to more than 40,000. We have also seen the percentage of patients who think it is important that their GP is a member of the RACGP rise from 15% to 36%. Further, the campaign played a pivotal role in the lifting of the Medicare rebate freeze, which for over a decade had been a severe burden on our members and their patients.

Our financial report shows that we retain our healthy financial base, upon which we can stake our present and future endeavours to consolidate, grow and, most importantly, provide exemplary service to our members. Management and staff work extremely hard to ensure we are delivering value for members and achieving efficiencies in the ways we operate.

Finally, I would like to thank Jo Raw, our recently retired Deputy Chief Executive Officer, for her valuable contribution to the RACGP over almost 10 years of service in many demanding roles.

I would also like to thank Board members for their contribution to making the RACGP one of the strongest medical representative bodies in the country.

Group photo - RACGP CEO and the Senior Leadership Team