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CDU set to deliver doctors for the Territory

Federal Government has granted $24.5 million to Charles Darwin University for the CDU Menzies Medical Program.
Federal Government has granted $24.5 million to Charles Darwin University for the CDU Menzies Medical Program.

Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) goal of educating homegrown doctors is now a reality with the Federal Government granting $24.5 million to establish the CDU Menzies Medical Program. 

The funding will allow the University to establish and operate the medical school from 2026 with 40 Commonwealth Supported medical places. 

The Federal Government will also provide funding to support capital, establishment, and recurrent costs. 

The funding comes after the CDU School of Medicine has rapidly progressed with the required exploratory work, which included the development of a medical curriculum and accreditation by the Australian Medical Council. 

The University has advocated for funding to establish the school and medical program to help address the Northern Territory’s demand for doctors. 

CDU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Reuben Bolt said the opportunity to deliver world-class medical training to local Territorians has tremendous benefits to the community. 

“We thank the Federal Government for recognising and affirming the commitment of Charles Darwin University and the Menzies School of Health Research to improving the health of Territorians, and advancing their lives,” Professor Bolt said. 

“The Northern Territory community has been at the forefront of our efforts to develop this program. And for Charles Darwin University, which is of and for the Northern Territory, it is a privilege to know that we will soon be able to educate and train homegrown doctors who will provide an invaluable service to the community that we know will make a difference.”

CDU School of Medicine Foundation Dean Professor Dianne Stephens OAM said the announcement was recognition of how important the CDU medical program was to secure a sustainable medical workforce in the NT. 

“I am absolutely lost for words at how fantastic this announcement is and how it validates all the work the team has put in over two and a half years to get this program up and running for the Northern Territory community,” Professor Stephens said. 

“It is going to be a gamechanger for the medical workforce in the Northern Territory and we will continue to work with our partners to make sure this program is perfect for Northern Territory context.” 

“It’s a privilege and an honour to contribute to the growth of the Northern Territory. I love this place, my children have grown up here. We have a bright future, and this will contribute to that future.”

Menzies School of Health Research Director Professor Alan Cass AO said it was critical to train local students who understand the nuances of the Northern Territory. 

“Menzies School of Health Research, with its 40-year track record of conducting research in partnership with communities across the NT and our global region, will provide world-class research opportunities to the CDU Menzies Medical School students,” Professor Cass said. 

“Local, place-based partnerships, as embodied by the new medical school, provide sustainable answers to address workforce shortages and to train doctors who understand deeply the unique health challenges of First Nations Australians living in remote areas of the Northern Territory.”

Member for Solomon, the Hon Luke Gosling OAM said the funding gave a crucial opportunity to train and retain a local medical workforce. 

“There is strong demand for doctors across the country, and this historic announcement delivers on a long-standing commitment by Malarndirri, Marion and I to boost our local healthcare workforce,” Mr Gosling said.

“Training our own means that we’ll have doctors with a more nuanced understanding of the local challenges and landscape. 

“Providing culturally and clinically relevant care will support our continued efforts to get better health outcomes for Aboriginal people and all Territorians. 

“We’ve got the talent here – this investment is about making sure they have the best resources and training to get them qualified and out into the local community.”

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