Bigger incentives to attract doctors to rural towns begin tomorrow

New payments to help rural, regional and remote towns across Australia attract doctors begin on 1 July 2015.

Page last updated: 30 June 2015

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30 June 2015

New payments to help rural, regional and remote towns across Australia attract doctors begin tomorrow, Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said today.

As a result of Minister Nash’s overhaul of the General Practice Rural Incentives Programme, country towns around the nation will receive more money from the Federal Government to attract doctors.

“As of July 1, the highest incentive paid to a doctor to work in remote Australia will jump from $47,000 a year to $60,000 a year,” Minister Nash said.

“The maximum incentive to work in a town of less than 5,000 in regional Australia will increase from $12,000 to $23,000, while the maximum incentive to work in a town of between 5,000 and 15,000 people will increase from $18,000 to $23,000.

“We were able to do this by eliminating the waste from the old Labor system. Under the old Labor system introduced in 2010, some $50 million a year was being used to pay incentives for doctors to live in 14 large regional cities, including Townsville (population 175,000) and Cairns (population 145,000). Those regional cities with populations of more than 50,000 are no longer eligible for the incentive.

“We’ve overhauled the system so that the biggest incentives go the smallest and most remote towns, to help them attract the doctors they need. As of tomorrow, those incentives can start flowing.

“Australia’s smallest rural towns have always struggled to attract doctors. We have to attack that problem from every angle and this change is a really good start.

“I say to those practices in rural, regional and remote towns, get out there and use this incentive to get more doctors,” Minister Nash said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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