As part of the general restructuring of the health system in Australia, the role of the general practitioner (GP) is undergoing some changes. Experience in a number of countries has been to broaden the GP role and for some GP skills to be performed by other health professionals, and for GPs to subsume some specialist tasks. Some time ago the Federal government undertook initiatives to strengthen the position of GPs and to upgrade their status in the health system. This has had an impact in their role in co-ordinating care, as gatekeepers and case managers, and in potentially taking over some skills areas which specialists have performed for some time. Here it is proposed that the GP role needs to become more flexible to be able to account for changes in payment systems and moves towards fundholding arrangements. Some specialist skills can be subsumed into the GP role and maximum effort needs to be directed towards integrating the GP into the wider field of health service provision.