Dire predictions have been made that regional towns without adequate medical services are much more likely to die.
Australia is experiencing a shortage of GPs in country areas, despite jobs on offer of $500,000 with a free house and car.
There may be a push to grow Australia's regional population to 11 million people by 2032, up from 9.5 million, but a lack of medical services in some areas will deter people from moving there, according to Associate Professor Michael Clements.
The rural chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said some towns had developed a reputation for their lack of healthcare.
"If they've got poor access to healthcare, or no GP at all, then new families aren't likely to move there. Young families who are thinking about starting a family, or having more children won't move there," he said.
"You only get so-called healthy people choosing to move to some of these towns which doesn't give the longevity you need."
Assoc Prof Clements said the more health services are pulled out of the country towards the city, the more those towns won't be able to attract "new blood".
"Those towns are much more likely to die," he said.
Worse health outcomes for country people
Rural and remote patients had worse health outcomes than those in urban areas, Assoc Prof Clements said.
"If you have a heart attack, if you have diabetes, if you've got COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], your chance of living to the Australian average age is much lower the further away you move from the city," he said.
"That's because of poor access to preventative health, poor access to GPs and other health care services.
"I've had patients of mine die while waiting for retrieval services, that if they'd had the same condition in the city they would have been just fine."
What's the solution to GP shortages?
Systematic reform of medical workforce policies and programs at national, state and local levels are needed to address GP shortages, an Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) spokesperson said.
Better recognition and remuneration systems will also help support country doctors.
"ACRRM has made thousands of submissions, representations and proposals over the past 20 years," she said.
Assoc Prof Clements said the recent health of the nation report showed rural GPs are happier more than urban GPs.
"It's a job that we love, but at the moment we don't have enough support to pull more people out of the cities to go to those areas. We need to find the levers that are going to incentivise them to move," he said.
Overseas trained doctors are part of the solution, and he said "many towns have been saved by doctors who've come from overseas".
Experts agree that training doctors in regional areas increases the chance they will stay there after graduation.
"Once we get the medical students and junior doctors to actually come out and actually try some of these jobs, they realise that it's the best ever," Assoc Prof Clements said.
The ACRRM spokesperson said "our training program is a key part of this solution, with 80 per cent of graduates still working in rural and remote practice 10 years after".