Simulation-based education (SBE) is a rapidly developing method of supplementing and enhancing the clinical education of medical students. Clinical situations are simulated for teaching and learning purposes, creating opportunities for deliberate practice of new skills without involving real patients. Simulation takes many forms, from simple skills training models to computerised full-body mannequins, so that the needs of learners at each stage of their education can be targeted. Emerging evidence supports the value of simulation as an educational technique; to be effective it needs to be integrated into the curriculum in a way that promotes transfer of the skills learnt to clinical practice. Currently, SBE initiatives in Australia are fragmented and depend on local enthusiasts; Health Workforce Australia is driving initiatives to develop a more coordinated national approach to optimise the benefits of simulation.