In June 1968 a Conference of Commonwealth and state health ministers agreed to form the Australian Health Ministers Council, now the COAG Health Council and the inaugural meeting was held in June 1969.

In 1993 the New Zealand Government accepted an invitation to take up full membership of the (then) AHMC, and the Papua New Guinea Health Minister was also invited to attend meetings as an observer. In September 2002, the Prime Minister issued an advice that ministerial councils should consult where appropriate with the Government of Norfolk Island on issues likely to affect Norfolk Island and consider inclusion of a representative of the Norfolk Island Government at meetings when relevant matters are discussed.

On 13 February 2011, following a review by Dr Allan Hawke, COAG decided to institute a new council system. As a result the AHMC became the Standing Council on Health in September 2011.

At its meeting on 13 December 2013, COAG agreed to streamline the COAG Council system and refocus on COAG’s priorities over the next 12 to 18 months. As a result the number of Councils was reduced from 17 to 8. As a result of the change there was no longer a distinction between Standing and Select Council because all Councils were time limited and the Standing Council on Health became the COAG Health Council.