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Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP)

What it does

The RLRP allows permanent resident doctors to work as General Practitioners (GPs) in rural and remote areas while they are working towards their GP Fellowship.

The RLRP particularly applies to doctors who:
  • have permanent residency or citizenship in Australia
  • haven’t yet attained Fellowship from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

The program enables doctors to provide GP services, for which Medicare rebates are available, in rural and remote areas.

Participants in the program are given clinical support and mentoring throughout the placement. Longer-term participants must undertake appropriate education and training to achieve postgraduate qualifications in general practice.

Medical Practitioners who are subject to section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 are required to undertake an approved training or workforce program in order to access Medicare benefits. The RLRP is an approved workforce program.

The program is administered by Rural Health Workforce Australia.


Eligible GPs fall into two broad categories:
    • Australian graduates, Australian citizen and permanent resident OTDs and New Zealand citizens who are subject to section 19AA only; and
    • Australian citizen and permanent resident OTDs and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools (FGAMS) who are subject to sections 19AA and 19AB of the Act.

Eligible locations are currently based on the RRMA classification system:
    • rural and remote areas (RRMA 3-7)
    • Areas of consideration determined by the Department of Health
    • Aboriginal Medical Services in RRMA 1-7

What it achieves

The RLRP was introduced as a measure to ensure that Australian rural and remote communities, especially those in more isolated regions, have access to experienced and skilled medical practitioners.

Want more info?

Contact the Rural Workforce Agency in your state or territory:

Northern TerritoryNT Medicare Local(08) 8950 4800
QueenslandHealth Workforce Queensland(07) 3105 7800
WARural Health West(08) 6389 4500
SARural Doctors Workforce Agency(08) 8234 8277
NSWNSW Rural Doctors Network(02) 4924 8000
VictoriaRural Workforce Agency Victoria(03) 9349 7800
TasmaniaHealth Recruitment Plus(03) 6334 2355

Rural Health Workforce Australia
Call (03) 9860 4700
or Go to RHWA website>