Specialist Training Program (STP)

RACS administers the program and the funding of eligible training positions on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The STP provides:

  • Annual Trainee salary support of $105,000 for training posts in expanded settings outside traditional public teaching hospitals. Expanded settings is defined as being either in a rural location or having a minimum 0.5 FTE private training component. STP salary support funding can only be used as a salary contribution for RACS Trainees allocated to the position.

  • Rural loading funding of up to $25,000 for Trainee expenses in regional, rural, and remote settings.

  • Private Infrastructure and Clinical Supervision (PICS) allowance of up to $30,000 per annum for clinical supervision in a private setting and private infrastructure.

For more information on the STP, please see the STP operational framework on the Department of Health website.

STP eligibility requirements

To be eligible to be considered for STP funding, a hospital position must:

  • be located in an ASGS RA 2-5 location (minimum 0.5 FTE); and/or

  • have a private training component (minimum 0.5 FTE); and

  • be newly accredited or undergoing accreditation by RACS; and

  • be a new position representing a genuine expansion of training (not previously filled or funded). 

The Department of Health runs Expression of Interest (EOI) rounds for hospitals to apply for STP funding. Applications for STP funding are currently closed.

RACS accreditation

Hospitals wishing to access STP funding must submit an accreditation application with the relevant Specialty Training Board, for 2022 accreditation, by the following dates. 

This may require hospitals to complete an accreditation submission before the funding application outcome is known. However, failure to apply for hospital accreditation will render the hospital ineligible to be considered for funding.


Closing dates


Cardiothoracic Surgery 31 March 2021 Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery
General Surgery 31 March 2021 General Surgeons Australia
Neurosurgery 1 March 2021 Neurosurgical Society of Australasia
Orthopaedic Surgery 1 November 2020  Australian Orthopaedic Association
Paediatric Surgery 31 March 2021 Board of Paediatric Surgery
Urology 31 March 2021  Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand
Vascular Surgery 31 January 2021 Australian and New Zealand Society for Vascular Surgery

New Fellow Rural Placement pilot

Two General Surgery Fellows are currently undertaking the New Fellow Rural Placement, an STP funded pilot approved by the Department of Health. The placements are at Royal Darwin Hospital and Cairns Hospital.

The aim of the New Fellow Rural Placement is to provide a New Fellow with a comprehensive, high quality experience in a rural location that will help them consolidate their skills and encourage them to consider working in a rural setting long term. 

Both participating hospitals have agreed to ensure their Fellow experiences the following as part of their placement:

  • Hospital conditions
    • Safe working hours
    • Diverse caseload
    • No onerous on call shifts
    • Two practising surgeons at a minimum
    • Located in an Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) RA 2 or 3 location
    • Links to local healthcare teams and other centre
  • Professional development
    • Hospital appointed mentor and support from surgeons
    • Access to RACS Professional Development courses
    • Links to tertiary institutions undertaking research and regional training hubs
    • Attendance at conferences
  • Recruitment/lifestyle
    • Promotion/marketing of the rural lifestyle and opportunities
    • Links with the local council and the community


Funding provided to each New Fellow on placement

STP funding contribution Amount Description 
 12-month relocation assistance package  $30,000  This package assists the Fellow with personal expenses of moving to a regional area to work. This could cover moving costs, childcare, bills, rent etc. 
Professional development  $20,000  The Fellow will be required to design a professional development plan, in consultation with RACS and their hospital appointed mentor. The professional development budget will also provide financial support for flights, study materials, meals, accommodation and other associated expenses to attend courses within Australia.
 Salary support  $150,000    Salary support provides appropriate financial assistance to each New Fellow.


In addition to the above, each hospital has provided a contribution to the overall funding package of at least $70,000, bring the total package to $270,000.

Will there be future funding for this initiative?

As this is a pilot, it will not continue in the 2021 clinical year. Once the pilot has been thoroughly evaluated, the Department of Health will make a decision about the future of the program based on reporting and evaluation from RACS.



Specialist Training Program (STP) office
Email: stp.admin@surgeons.org 
Phone +61 3 9249 1283

Please refer to the Department of Health website for further information about the STP.