Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme 2015

The Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme is an Australian Government initiative designed to address doctor shortage outside metropolitan areas across Australia.

Page last updated: 12 September 2017

MRBS Student Information booklet 2015 - this information applies to current MRBS Scheme participants and participants from previous years who have signed a Deed of Variation accepting the new Scaling Initiative conditions.

Rural and Regional Health Australia
a quick reference to geographical information

Scaling - Questions and Answers

Contact the Department

Important Information

posted 07/03/2017

Read your contract

MRBS Scheme participants are reminded to fully understand their MRBS contracts and remain aware of their contractual obligations, particularly as they progress through their medical careers and approach their return of service period.

posted 07/02/2017

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is now considered a District of Workforce Shortage and as a category MMM7 and ASGC-RA5 location (Very Remote Australia). It is therefore is an eligible location for the return of service obligation and Scaling discount for most participants in the MRBS Scheme (depending on the contract).

Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators

Some earlier MRBS Contracts do not list a fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) as an eligible qualification under the MRBS Scheme. The RACMA is an eligible medical college under the Scheme and a fellowship from RACMA is a valid fellowship under which to commence a return of service obligation under the MRBS Scheme, even if it may not be noted explicitly in your Contract

Posted 16/11/2016

Privacy and Your Personal Information

Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notification

Your personal information is protected by law, including the Privacy Act 1988. The Australian Government Department of Health (‘Department’) is collecting this personal information about you for the purpose of administering the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme, including monitoring your compliance with your obligations under your contract with the Commonwealth and assessing any requests you may make in relation to your participation in the MRBS Scheme.

If you do not provide all of the information requested by the Department you may be in breach of the notification requirements in your contract and the Department may not be able to assess a request or claim you make in relation to your participation in theMRBS Scheme (eg, a deferral request or exceptional circumstances claim).

If necessary for the purposes of administering the MRBS Scheme or if required or authorised by law, the Department may disclose your personal information to other organisations and government departments including:

  • your university;
  • the Department of Human Services;
  • the Department of Education and Training;
  • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
  • the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency;
  • the Medical Board of Australia;
  • Medical Colleges; and
  • Rural Workforce Agencies.

The Department is unlikely to disclose your personal information to overseas recipients.

If you disclose other people’s personal information to this Department (eg, if you are an MRBS participant and, as part of an exceptional circumstances claim, you disclose personal information to the Department about your family members), in disclosing that personal information to the Department you undertake that those other people have (a) consented to the Department collecting and using their personal information for the purposes set out in this notice and (b) read and understood this privacy notice.

The Department has an APP privacy policy which you can read at You can obtain a copy of the APP privacy policy by contacting the Department using the contact details set out below. The APP privacy policy contains information about:

  • how you may access the personal information the Department holds about you and how you can seek correction of it; and
  • how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles.

The Department of Health can be contacted by telephone on (02) 6289 1555 or freecall 1800 020 103 or by using the online enquiries form.

MRBS Scheme Information

The Commonwealth Government announced, as part of the 2015 Budget, that the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme will be closed to new entrants.

Over 1,300 participants remain active in the Scheme which requires individuals to work in a regional, rural or remote area for up to 6 years once they qualify as a medical specialist or a general practitioner.

Medical students receiving MRBS scholarship payments will continue to receive them for the duration of their degree. All active participants will still be expected to fulfil their return of service obligation.

From the 2016 academic year, the one hundred MRBS medical places per year which were available for commencing medical students have been transferred for use in the Bonded Medical Places Scheme.

Prohibition on Rendering Professional Services Outside an ASGC-RA 2-5 Area during the Return of Service Period.

The Government has recently approved a policy change regarding the way the prohibition on rendering professional services outside an ASGC-RA 2-5 area during the Return of Service Period is administered.

Applications to provide professional services outside of an ASGC-RA 2-5 while simultaneously undertaking the Return of Service Period may now be considered where a participant is applying for such approval:

  1. for the purposes of education or skill development; or
  2. where exceptional circumstances apply;

particularly where the application is consistent with the objectives of the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme.

If you have previously applied for permission to provide professional services during your Return of Service Period outside an ASGC- RA 2-5, and have had your request declined, you may now wish to reapply so that your application may be reconsidered. All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the policy outlined above.

For more information, write to using the subject ‘[Scheme/Program] – [Name] – [Request]’.

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Important information for students born overseas, including New Zealand:

You need to be an Australian citizen, or have a permanent resident visa, to be eligible to receive the MRBS. For further information ring the following freecall phone number: 1800 248 720 (only valid in Australia)