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Rural Locum Relief Program


In 1996 the Australian Government restricted access to Medicare provider numbers for new medical practitioners.  Medical practitioners who gained general registration in Australia after 1 November 1996 are required to obtain postgraduate qualifications in order to access Medicare. For general practice, the only qualifications currently accepted for this purpose are Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) or Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM).

The Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP) is an approved workforce program under Section 3GA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) and was developed in response to the provider number restrictions to allow affected medical practitioners to attract Medicare benefits while providing medical services in rural and remote Australia and working towards obtaining postgraduate qualifications in General Practice. Read the RLRP Guidelines (PDF, 310KB).

RLRP administration in NSW

While the RLRP is a national program, it is administered in New South Wales by the NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN). It is RDN’s responsibility to ensure that a GP position meets the needs of the community, is appropriate for your skills and training, and adequate mentoring will be provided. The program has a maximum term of four years.


Applicants eligible for enrolment on RLRP fall into two categories:

  • Category 1

Australian graduates and Permanent Resident International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who are subject to section 19AA of the Act only.

  • Category 2

Permanent Resident IMGS and former overseas medical students who are subject to both sections 19AA and 19AB of the Act.

There are also location restrictions for both categories of applicants.



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