Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP)

The Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP) ensures that Australian rural and remote communities have access to appropriately experienced and skilled medical practitioners. The program provides a framework for long term improvements in the quality of doctors working in Australia and Health Workforce Queensland is responsible for administering the RLRP in Queensland.

In the 1996 Budget initiatives, restrictions on access to Medicare provider numbers and Medicare benefits for newly graduated medical practitioners were introduced under Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act).

The intent of the restrictions was to ensure that new medical graduates met certain proficiency standards before being able to provide services that attract Medicare benefits.

Medical practitioners affected by the provider number restrictions are required to be enrolled in an approved workforce or training program in order to attract Medicare benefits whilst providing medical services in rural and remote Australia.

The Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP) is an approved program (under Section 3GA of the Act) and has been administered by Rural Workforce Agencies in each State and the Northern Territory since 1998.


The RLRP allows medical practitioners, in rural and remote areas who are subject to Section 19AA of the Act and who meet eligibility criteria of the program, to have temporary access to Medicare rebates when providing short term services through approved placements.

The objectives of the RLRP are to:

  • Attract suitably qualified and experienced medical practitioners to work in general practice in rural and remote Australia; and
  • Provide a means by which medical practitioners restricted by Section 19AA of the Act can access Medicare benefits for general practice services provided as part of, and in accordance with, an approved placement under Section 3GA of the Act.


Applicants eligible for the RLRP fall into two broad categories:

  • Category 1 applicants: Australian and New Zealand graduates, Australian Citizens and Permanent Resident Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) who are subject to Section 19AA of the Act only
  • Category 2 applicants: Australian Citizens, Permanent Resident OTDs and foreign graduates of an accredited medical school who are subject to both Sections 19AA and 19AB of the Act (also known as the ten year moratorium).

To request an application form, please contact us on 3105 7800.

Rural Locum Relief Program - applicant guidelines

For more information on the Rural Locum Relief Program please view the Department of Health RLRP Program Guidelines.

For additional information please contact us or phone 07 3105 7800.

RLRP Application Form Contract Consent Form