Federal Budget 2018: Charles Sturt University and MP Andrew Gee win fight for medical school

AFTER years of waiting, the Murray Darling Medical School will finally be able to go ahead.

In Tuesday night's Federal Budget, treasurer Scott Morrison announced plans for a new rural medical school network.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) will partner with Western Sydney University to establish a medical school network across the Murray Darling Basin as part of the federal government’s network to establish a Joint Medical Program (JMP).

The physical school will be located in Orange next to CSU’s dental school, with the bulk of the clinical placements to be undertaken in Orange and Bathurst.

The course will be tailored to the practice of medicine in rural and regional areas. 

Under the plan, 30 medical Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) are to be allocated to CSU.

CSU vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said he was “stoked” that the Murray Darling Medical School will be able to go ahead and take students from 2021. 

“We’re very happy. This is an enormous amount of work to do for the construction, the refurbishment, finding staff, developing the curriculum, but it will be good work to do,” he said.

The commitment from the government to have a rural medical school network is not only a win for CSU and future medical students, but also a win for member for Calare Andrew Gee, who has been campaigning alongside the university since his election. 

On Wednesday morning, Mr Gee said it was a great day for the Central West. 

"I'm absolutely delighted and I couldn't be happier. We've done it," he said. 

"This is politics as it should be, this is government as it should be, actually delivering something worthwhile that will make a difference for years to come."

  • VIDEO:Andrew Gee speaks about the Budget

He said it was a very "long and hard fight" to get this project off the ground, one that has been around 10 years in the making.

He said the community support and vision for the medical school made the difference.

"CSU is taking this regional view of it and I think that was very attractive to the powers that be," Mr Gee said. 

"I think we have been able to achieve something that is quite historic."

Professor Vann wanted to express his thanks to the government for seeing the project’s value, and Mr Gee, who he said had been a “champion” for the school.