Since the scheme officially launched in 2013, 126 dentists have been awarded Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme (DRISS) grants to relocate to rural Australia and, according to Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA), the vast majority are overwhelming positive about their decision to move.
The latest RHWA figures (January 2016) show the relocated dentists have reported high levels of satisfaction with rural dentistry - 89% were either satisfied or very satisfied.1
With the first 2016 deadline for the next round of grants fast approaching, BOQ Specialist bank is encouraging interested applicants to get their commercial and personal finances in order.
DRISS is providing $77.7 million over four years to increase the number of new practices and expand the services of existing private practices, in rural, regional and remote areas and is an Australian Government funded program managed by RHWA.
DRISS offers relocation grants of up to $120,000 to dentists who want to work in private practice in a location more regional, rural or remote than their current practice. In addition to relocation, grants can include payments for practice refurbishment, infrastructure and equipment
up to $250,000. They are available through grant funding rounds twice each year, with the next round open from 22 February to 24 March 2016.
NSW State Manager at BOQ Specialist, Jeff Miller said those looking to relocate need to be confident about their financial position before making the move and DRISS, amongst other funding sources, could be an option for assistance.
"Applicants considering applying for some or all of the grants should be aware that a crucial component of the DRISS criteria is to have pre-approved loans in place, as well as a two-year cash flow budget as part of the practice's business and financial plan," he said.
According to BOQ Specialist's research paper, Specialists Serving Specialists,2 the emergence of technology and competitive pressures means the investment required to set up a practice has increased dramatically over the past decade. According to a recent IBIS World Industry Report on Dental Services in Australia,3 the cost to establish a new practice can be upwards of about $400,000.
"The cost to set up a practice is one thing but there are also additional living costs to consider. Uprooting your business and family to a completely new location is clearly a big decision and requires a great deal of background research and planning.
"To ensure a smooth transition, we encourage practitioners to check they have sufficient funding in place to support both their work life and home life. We also encourage seeking the advice of specialists in many aspects of the clients' businesses including accounting, tax, property search, practice set-up, marketing and banking," he said.
BOQ Specialist has over 25 years' experience developing and offering tailored financial services to dental professionals, bringing unique expertise to guide dentists through both their commercial and personal financing needs.
Rural Health Workforce Australia will be holding DRISS application and grant management process information sessions in each state in February 2016.
- Rural Health Workforce Australia- January 2016
- BOQ Specialist research paper - Specialists Serving Specialists – May 2015
- IBISWorld Industry Report Q8531 Dental Services in Australia - April 2015