Objectives: To describe the organisational, clinical and pragmatic features of a GP liaison service established by the Division of Mental Health in the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service catchment to facilitate the care of rural patients and improve communication between primary and specialist care. Conclusions: The GP liaison service was created using funding from the Commonwealth STP initiative to provide weekly registrar clinics to primary care providers in the Darling Downs. The service was eagerly accepted by providers who saw patient benefits outweighing financial considerations. Expectations of a greater level of care than the assessment and advice provided reflects the large unmet need for mental health services in rural areas. GPs expressed enthusiasm for true collaborative care, such as case management overseen by the public mental health service but based at GP offices.