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Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce in Orange on Friday

Barnaby Joyce some years ago. Copyright: Simon Chamberlain / Wiki Commons.

By Peter Holmes

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce will be at the official opening of Charles Sturt University’s School of Rural Medicine on Friday morning.

The launch has been delayed by a year due to Covid, with the first medical students starting their study in Orange in 2021.

Last year's intake attracted 824 student applications for the initial 37 Commonwealth Supported Places.

This year more than 1,000 students applied to study.

Also scheduled to attend the opening are minister for regional health Dr Dave Gillespie and Calare MP Andrew Gee.

“We build our regions and make them strong by ensuring those who call them home can access the same services and opportunities as people living in capital cities,” the deputy PM said in a statement.

Medical and dental science students from Charles Sturt during the recent O-Week events. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

“Aspiring doctors from the bush shouldn’t have to leave their home town to pursue their dream, nor should regional Australians have to travel to receive the care they need."

The university's five-year undergraduate Doctor of Medicine is a partnership between Charles Sturt’s School of Rural Medicine and Western Sydney University’s medical school.

"You’ll get hands-on from the very start through this highly practical course with clinical learnings from your first weeks of study," the course's web page states.

"Throughout your clinical placements, you’ll cover a broad range of general, specialist and inter-professional training.

"This will include First Nations Peoples' health, emergency medicine, critical care, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, mental health, and surgery."

The university describes its facilities as "start-of-the-art" and says students will be "well prepared for your future in medicine when you get hands-on in our anatomy teaching laboratory, simulation hospital wards, interactive study pods and ultrasound room".

Gee said in a statement: “We know that when students undertake training in a regional or rural area, like Orange or Bathurst, it means they are more likely to choose to live and work in the bush once they are fully qualified.

“The CSU Medical School will play a key role in making sure country people, including those from our region, can become local doctors."

The federal government provided $22 million in capital works funding from 2019 to 2022 to help establish the centre.

Last week Joyce urged migrants to fill labour shortages in Australia, but to forget Sydney as a destination.

“We need the labour," Joyce told Nine Radio. "We need people to do the work in abattoirs, fruit picking, the jobs Australians won’t do.

“(But) we’ve got to say that if you want to come to Australia, you’ve got to live in Tamworth, not Sydney. Sydney is full. Sydney does not need more people, regional towns do."


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