Joint Media Release
The Hon Dr David Gillespie MP
Assistant Minister for Health
Member for Lyne
Mr George Christensen MP
Member for Dawson
7 March 2017
Medical students in Mackay will receive greater opportunities to train under the Coalition Government’s continued investment in the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.
The Coalition Government is providing $31 million to JCU under the RHMT program from January 2016 through to December 2018 to support rural training for health and medical students.
Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, and local Dawson MP, George Christensen, today visited the James Cook University (JCU) Rural Clinical School in Mackay to see first-hand the experiences on offer for medical students under the RHMT program.
“When the University started the medical undergraduate program in 2000, there were 64 first year students. In 2016 the total number of students enrolled across the six year course was 1170,” Minister Gillespie said.
“In 2016, 38 medical students undertook a long-term placement in Mackay, with a further 115 medical students undertaking short term placements in the Mackay region under the RHMT program.
“George Christensen has been of the greatest advocates in our party room for increasing the Federal Government’s investment in medical and health training programs and I am delighted to see this increase in funding flowing through to JCU’s program here in Mackay.
Mr Christensen said: “We know that Australians who live in the bush generally experience poorer health outcomes compared to Australians who live in the city areas.
“To address these issues, we need to ensure we have the right number of health professionals in the right areas, but first and foremost, we need to invest in our future workforce.
“And that’s exactly what the JCU has done here ─ by encouraging its students to undertake their training in the areas where their skills are needed the most, enabling students to see the unique health challenges faced by Australians living in these areas.
“It’s fantastic to see that more and more of our young people are choosing to pursue careers in health and train in regional locations.
For more information contact the Minister's Office on (02) 6277 4960 or Mr Christensen’s Office on (07) 4944 0662