The critical importance of primary healthcare in maintaining a healthy population is well established internationally. Nevertheless, general practitioner care is not always easily accessible for some patients in Australia, particularly, in rural regions. This is partly due to an insufficient number of medical graduates entering and being retained in the rural GP workforce. Key elements of international and national programmes designed to address this shortfall are discussed and include the use of entry requirements that preferentially select for applicants from a rural residence background, and immersion of medical students for a large share, or entire duration, of their training in rural communities. In addition, other factors that can influence decisions to enter and stay in rural practice are discussed.