Rural Locum Relief Program

Rural Locum Relief Program

See Important Update on RLRP in Victoria 

The Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP) allows eligible medical practitioners affected by the provider number restrictions under Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act), to attract Medicare benefits while providing medical services in rural and remote Australia.

The RLRP is an approved program under Section 3GA of the Act and is administered by Rural Workforce Agencies in each State and the Northern Territory.

All medical practitioners (both Australian-trained, and overseas-trained) are subject to restrictions of section 19AA of the Act if they:

  • Hold medical registration by an Australian Medical Board on or after 1 November 1996
  • Are Australian permanent residents or Australian citizens
  • Do not hold continued recognition by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, or by a recognised specialist college

Overseas trained medical practitioners who complete their commitment to s19AB (also known as the 10-year moratorium) are subject to the s19AA restrictions. This means that if a doctor completes their 10-year moratorium, but has not gained fellowship, or holds specialist recognition, they will still be subject to the restrictions.

All medical practitioners restricted by s19AA are unable to access Medicare benefits unless they apply to participate on an approved training or workforce program under section 3GA of the Act.  The RLRP is one of the workforce programs under Section 3GA of the Act.

The Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP) is no longer accepting applications.

We would like to assure all current RLRP participants, and practices with RLRP participants that:

  • Existing RLRP participants may continue on the program until the end of their placement as determined by RWAV;
  • The legislation that provides RLRP participants with access to Medicare will not be withdrawn until existing doctors achieve general practice fellowship or transition to a Fellowship pathway;
  • There is no requirement for RLRP participants to move to other 3GA programs (e.g. More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP) or RACGP Practice Eligible Pathway (PEP) or ACRRM Independent Pathway (IP)).

The new 3GA program, More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP) is now open for applications. MDRAP supports non-vocationally recognised doctors to gain valuable general practice experience in rural and remote communities before joining a college fellowship program.

To find out more about MDRAP, please contact the GP Programs team on 03 9349 7800 or