Local GP practices in communities such as Moama, Deniliquin, Finley, Barham, Mulwala and Corowa have more options and a larger pool of doctors to recruit from, following changes announced today by the Morrison Government.

The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification identifies locations in Australia with a shortage of doctors.

Currently, only rural and remote communities receive automatic DPA status. This change gives automatic priority classification for larger towns to make it easier to recruit more doctors.

Local MP Sussan Ley said the move would provide a real difference to patients in her electorate.

“Short term, it means nearly every local GP practice in Farrer can begin reaching out to new and graduating doctors who want to move to our region and practice here.”

“We are also investing in a significant incentive for eligible doctors and nurse practitioners to come to rural Australia, by eliminating all or part of their Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt.

“We’ll cover 100% of the debt if a new doctor works for at least half of their degree (around 2 or 3 years in a more remote council area, for example in the Balranald, Hay or Wentworth shires. For a graduating nurse, the length of time will be about one year.

And we’ll also cover 100% of costs for the full length of their degree (around six years) in more populated towns and communities such as Moama, Deniliquin, Finley, Barham or Mulwala and Corowa. For half of that length of time, we’ll pay 50% of that debt,

“This is all about implementing a range of policies to get more GPs, nurses and allied health professionals to areas where they are actually needed,” Ms Ley said.