The emergence of virulent avian influenza A subtypes with potential to evolve into novel human subtypes prompted directives from the World Health Organisation recommending that countries prepare for a pandemic. In response the Australian government developed the Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza (AHMPPI), which includes strategies to contain and/or manage a pandemic. To implement these strategies successfully, community compliance is necessary. Our qualitative study investigated, through a deliberative forum, the extent to which the antiviral drug and vaccine allocation of the AHMPPI corresponds with community views about the priority groups. We used Mary Douglas Grid/Group analysis to analyse the results, which suggested that the AHMPPI's allocation strategy corresponds well with community views with both based on a hierarchical structure. There are some differences concerning community involvement in the decision process and information provision to the public, for which our study provides recommendations. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.