Professor Vann said rural and remote areas needed 1800 more doctors now, and 2500 more by 2025.
“We rely on the availability of overseas-trained doctors to maintain present levels of service,” he said.
“Any significant improvement in the availability of doctors will require us to recruit even more if we rely on present policies.
“This is at a time when there is growing disquiet in the international community at the diversion of these doctors from their home countries where their services are so urgently needed.
“And our capacity to recruit overseas doctors may diminish in future.”
Professor Vann said CSU should be allowed to train doctors with a rural-focused curriculum and students committed to working in the country.
He was backed by a CSU consultant, Professor John Dwyer, and CSU science dean Professor Nick Klomp who also gave evidence to the Senate committee on community affairs.
Committee chairwoman Senator Rachel Siewert was accompanied by Senators Bridget McKenzie, Fiona Nash and Claire Moore.
Professor Dwyer said although medical schools had rural units, they were all based in major cities and they were training students who were not considering a rural-based career.
CSU wanted “to train medical students in the country who love the rural life,” he said.
“Rural clinical schools are excellent but spend too much time with students who have no intention of pursuing a rural career,” he said.
She recognised that under schemes to attract rural doctors, places as different as Albury and Holbrook had the same incentives, so there was no incentive to choose the smaller town.
Several health associations representing GPs, physiotherapists, dentists and ambulance authorities gave evidence yesterday.
The committee will complete a report for the Senate to consider.