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24 May 2000 B23/2000


The Leader of the National Party in the Senate, Ron Boswell today welcomed the announcement of up to 400 places to be awarded under the Rural Australian Medical Undergraduate Scholarships (RAMUS) Scheme urging Queensland medical students from rural and regional areas to apply.

Senator Boswell said the $10,000 per year scholarships were open to students from rural and regional areas around Australia who were currently enrolled in a medical course, with funds payable annually.

"For many students from remote areas in Queensland who want to study medicine, lack of financial support can present a major obstacle to pursuing their goals," Senator Boswell said.

"With the RAMUS Scheme, the financial burden will be lifted off the shoulders of some of Queensland’s medical students, many of whom have to travel large distances to attend university."

The RAMUS Scheme is a key feature in the Coalition Government’s $562 million Regional Health Strategy announced in this year’s Budget to boost the number of GPs in the Bush and improve access to health services for regional and rural communities.

Since the Scheme was announced, there had been extensive consultations with student groups and other key players such as GP organisations and universities to develop parameters for the Scholarships.

"We believe the Scheme will play a key role in boosting access to quality health care services in rural and regional Australia over the longer term," Senator Boswell said.

Applications for the first round close in late June, with scholarships expected to be awarded by early August. Scholarship payments awarded this year will be backdated to January 1, 2000.

Administered by the National Rural Health Alliance, application forms and more information on RAMUS are available by telephoning the Alliance on 1800 460 440.

Media Contact: Perin Davey: (07) 3001 8150

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