I rise to provide an update to this House on the push for the Murray Darling Medical School. The Murray Darling Medical School aims to train doctors in the bush for practice in the bush. It is needed because the current system of training, dominated by the big city universities, is failing country Australia, where it can take weeks in some places just to see a GP. People living in regional Australia deserve the same access to health care as people living in the cities, including access to doctors. Presently, less than 10 per cent of medical students trained by the big city universities go on to practise medicine in the country. The current system is not working, because the model is flawed.
A recently released report prepared by PPB Advisory showed that the Murray Darling Medical School graduates would be four times more likely to practise medicine in the regions. The same report has found that the Murray Darling Medical School would be three to five times more cost efficient in terms of Commonwealth-supported-places expenditure than metropolitan universities in training doctors who will work in the bush. The PPB report also showed that the Murray Darling Medical School would help solve doctor shortages in the country by providing around 90 new doctors for the Murray-Darling region each year—and not only this, but the Murray Darling Medical School would improve health outcomes for country Australia and bring around $2 billion in additional benefits to the Murray-Darling region.
The closed shop needs to be opened. The time for the Murray Darling Medical School has come, and our country communities deserve nothing less.