Media event date: 
22 February 2021
Date published: 
23 February 2021
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

A new era of medical training is underway with the start of three new medical school programs in the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN), including students today at Charles Sturt and Western Sydney Universities’ Orange campus.

The Network, through delivering five new rural medical schools across Victoria and New South Wales, will see more medical professionals trained in rural settings, leading to more of them choosing a rewarding life and career in regional Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack said the milestone serves as a reminder of the delivery of The Nationals in government.

“The Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network is another example of regional Australia benefitting from having a true country voice in Canberra,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Australian Government is providing a total of $74.4 million over four years for the Medical Schools Network.

“It is pleasing to see the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network is getting on with training the rural workforce of the future.”

Regional Education Minister and Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said there has been very strong interest from students in CSU medical school’s rural program and its cutting-edge, world-class learning facilities

“The Central West community fought long and hard for this medical school to ensure that country students have the same educational opportunities as their city cousins,” Mr Gee said.

“This state-of-the-art medical school sends a strong message – no matter what you want to study or what you want to be – you can build your future in the bush.

“CSU medical school students will undertake a medical program designed for rural practice, meaning that people from country Australia can now start and finish their medical degree in the country and become a country doctor.”

Federal Rural Health Minister, Mark Coulton, said around 80 students would start their medical degrees this year throughout the new MDMSN.

“Regional, rural and remote communities are experiencing challenges in accessing the health services they need and while there is no silver bullet to improve the distribution of medical professionals across the country, the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network is central to our Government’s strategy,” Mr Coulton said.

“This month sees the start of three of the five new rurally-based medical school programs delivered under the MDMSN, taking the next generation of rural medicos on their journey to rural careers.

“We know students who train in the regions are far more likely to stay in the regions, which is why the MDMSN is so important in ensuring rural communities face a future with better access to health care services.”

In New South Wales, students will study in Orange (a partnership between Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University) and Wagga Wagga (through the University of New South Wales). In Victoria, Monash University students will spend their first year at the Monash Rural Health Gippsland campus before moving onto Bendigo and Mildura.

The two remaining new rural medical programs, based in Dubbo (University of Sydney) and Shepparton (University of Melbourne) will begin in 2022. In addition, the first 15 rural biomedical science graduates from La Trobe University will transition into the University of Melbourne’s rural medical program at Shepparton in 2022.