Nursing placements for international students could encourage qualified nurses to stay in Dubbo, according to an upper house member. Stephen Lawrence MLC said there was a "dire shortage" of nurses in Dubbo as well as across regional Australia and having students live and train in Dubbo could encourage them to remain in the city when they graduate. "The reality is if people are educated here [in Dubbo] and they live here and they get used to the community here, then there's a really good chance that they will stay here and work as nurses and provide that really important service to the community," Mr Lawrence told the Daily Liberal. READ ALSO: University to help tackle nursing shortage with new international student program He was speaking at the launch of the Charles Sturt University bachelor of nursing international students program, under which, beginning in 2024, the university will open up to international students and house 16 people who are studying nursing and want to stay on in the industry. Mr Lawrence said it was "a really strategic decision" by the university, and one that was "in the public interest". Dubbo has a growing multicultural community, offering cultural links for international students from all over the world including India and Nepal. Mr Lawrence, who moved to Dubbo in 2010, said he had noticed a "really obvious" increase in multiculturalism in Dubbo during this time and this was "a really good thing". "I'm pretty confident that these international students that come here from south Asia are going to find it a really welcoming place and a place that they'll find people that speak their language and eat their food," Mr Lawrence said. "And they'll form great relationships with them I'm sure and all of that is going to contribute to that really important decision to stay here, which is what we want." READ ALSO: Citizenship ceremonies rising as migrants choose Dubbo Mr Lawrence said the nurse shortage was "acute" in Dubbo and he hopes the university program will "go from strength to strength". He said the Federal Government was working on the problem, by offering incentives for people who chose to work in the regions, however he said "money is not the sole answer here". "You can't just pay more and more for locums and short-term people and increase wages. You need to operate these services as part of a community, and I think you do that in a really important way by educating people here," he said. IN OTHER NEWS Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Renée Leon, said nursing was a flagship course at the university and extending it to international students made sense. "There's such a demand from the community to increase the number of people studying nursing and Charles Sturt University is really happy to be making a contribution to the important shortages of nurses in our workforce," she said. Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app here. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens.