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Several towns in the Richmond electorate will have a better chance of attracting GP’s under changes announced by the Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash.

Where the former Labor government paid doctors who lived in the 14 large regional cities about $50 million a year, the much fairer GP Rural Incentives Programme will mean smaller communities like Byron Bay, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, Suffolk Park and Mullumbimby will be more attractive for doctors to move to.

The Nationals Duty Senator for Richmond John Williams said higher incentive payments will go to doctors who choose to work in the area of greatest need.

He said money which Labor used to attract doctors to large cities such as Cairns and Townsville will be redirected to ensure smaller towns in Richmond can attract and retain GP’s.

Senator Williams said the maximum incentive to work in a  town of less than 5,000 people will increase from $18,000 to $23,000 a year, and the highest incentive paid to work in remote Australia will jump from $47,000 to $60,000 a year.

The new GP rural incentive payment will not be available to doctors working in the 14 larger regional cities with a population of more than 50,000.

The new incentive payments start from the 1st of July.

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