Distribution Priority Areas – DPA Map Changes 2021

17 July 2020 | Clinic Owners and Practice Managers, UK/Ireland GPs | 4 minutes read

Distribution Priority Areas – DPA Map Changes 2021

Initially it was said that the DPA Australia map would not change for 3 years,  however we were not surprised to see some changes were implemented as soon as July 2020.

During the first two years after the inception of the new DPA classification system, most areas have expanded to further limit the locations where OTDs can practice. While we still believe DPA to be very restrictive, the Department of Health has made some progress and added more DPA locations in the July 2021 update than what they declassified/removed as DPA.

As you may be aware, overseas trained doctors (OTDs) are required to work in a Distribution Priority Area for their first 10 years after their medical registration in Australia. DPA is the most common 19AB exemption for OTDs  to work in Australia, however there are other exemptions available as well.

➜ Learn more and view all 19AB Exemptions


Changes to previous DPA (for GPs) classification – 2021 Update

Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) are officially updated by the Department of Health on  1 July of each year. However, it has now become possible to lodge a special DPA review request which may be consider under special circumstances.

Here is how the Department of Health explains their annual DPA map changes and catchment area updates:

“The DPA or DWS classification of an area can change when there has been a significant shift in access to health care since the previous annual update. This might be due to changes in the workforce, or in the size or makeup of the population.”

In the most recent update, the Department of Health pledged to provide more transparency surrounding the calculation method to determine the DPA status of a location as well as the level of variance above and below the DPA benchmarks.

Apparently, COVID-19 and the impact on healthcare access was also considered in the determination of DPA map changes.

Distribution Priority Areas Map

To check the DPA status of a particular location or catchment area, check the full map here

As you will see further below there are many sought-after Australian GP job locations with DPA classification.

Below are screenshots of DPA Maps taken on 19 April 2022.

DPA Map Australia


DPA Map Melbourne & VIC

DPA Map Melbourne

➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Melbourne & VIC

Popular DPA Locations in Victoria:

  • Geelong
  • Keilor Downs
  • Waurn Ponds
  • Ballarat
  • Mornington
  • Wodonga
  • Rosebud
  • Bendigo
  • Shepparton
  • Bairnsdale

DPA Map Sydney & NSW

DPA Map Sydney and NSW - April 2022
➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Sydney & NSW

Popular DPA Locations in NSW:

  • Blackheath
  • Wyoming
  • Woy Woy
  • Albury
  • Kempsey
  • Bathurst

DPA Map Brisbane & QLD

DPA Map Brisbane QLD, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast
➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Brisbane & QLD

Popular DPA Locations in QLD:

  • Bundaberg
  • Airlie Beach
  • Port Douglas

DPA Map Perth & WA

DPA Map Perth and WA
➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Perth & WA
Popular DPA Locations in WA:

  • Rockingham
  • Mandurah
  • Busselton
  • Margaret River
  • Kalgoorlie
  • Karratha
  • Broome
  • Esperance
  • Albany

DPA Map Adelaide & South Australia

DPA map Adelaide and SA
➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Adelaide & SA

Popular DPA Locations in SA:

  • Port Augusta
  • Port Pirie
  • Victor Harbour
  • Murray Bridge
  • McLaren Vale
  • Blackwood
  • Golden Grove

DPA Map Hobart & Tasmania

DPA map Hobart and Tasmania
➜ View DPA GP Jobs in Hobart & Tasmania
Popular DPA Locations in Tasmania:

  • Launceston
  • Devonport
  • Woodbridge
  • Richmond

2021 DPA Map Changes for International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

  • 38 New DPA locations added
  • 5 DPA locations removed

2021 DPA Map Changes for GPs in a Bonded Medical Program (BMP)

  • 26 New DPA locations added
  • 9 DPA locations removed

See all the details of locations with a new DPA status here.

Further info on the assessment of each catchment area can be found here.

DPA Classification Updates

The DPA map is officially updated on 1 July each year. However, anyone can request a review of a specific GP catchment area during the year. These requests are reviewed by the Distribution Working Group (DWG) and are approved or denied by the Minister for Regional Health.  If the DPA status is updated as a result of a special request, it remains active until the next official annual update on 1 July.

➜ Find the outcome of special circumstances DPA reviews

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