What Is the Average Nurse Salary in Australia Per Division?

We often hear nurses, including myself particularly after a run of nights, complaining about their wage. But what do nurses in Australian actually earn per year and how do the powers-at-be decide who gets paid more or less?

Registered nurses in Australia earn an average salary of $61,000 per year (before tax). But this number can vary greatly depending on your experience, qualifications, where you work and level of seniority. The majority of nurses have their pay determined by “awards” that are legally binding and must be upheld by all employers.

This post will firstly explore a few keys points about nursing wages in Australia. You’ll also note two tables with the average nurse salary wages in Australia per division for which you work.

 Things You Need to Know About Nursing Pay in Australia:

  • A National Nurses Award was introduced on 1 January 2010 by FairWork Australia. (1)
    This is a big document outlining every aspect of the nursing workforce from wages to leave entitlements. Inside contains the minimum wage in which you are entitled to be paid. Most employers however pay over this “base rate” in order to retain great staff.

  • You will hear the phrase, “Under the 2016–20 enterprise agreement” a lot if you start looking into nursing conditions and wages.
    Governing bodies and nursing unions, such as the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), are always working towards better conditions for nurses and to equalize pay across the states. Because of this, your pay is likely to change overtime. (2,3)
  • Location matters. Nurses that work and live in rural and remote country towns tend to earn more than those who work in populated cities. The limited access to resources and isolation factors are potential reasons for this. But this isn’t to say it’s not fun, rewarding work!


  • More experience generally means a higher wage. Most graduate nurses will take home between $60,000 – $65,000 annually. But your pay will continue to grow 4-5% every year until you have 8-10 years’ experience. It’s after a decade of working that nurses seeking a pay increase need to ask themselves; is further study is required to obtain higher nursing positions, such as critical care or management roles? Or are you happy with the pay you have now?


  • Your employer has a say in your pay too. Nurses who work for private hospitals or upscale health facilities tend to make more money than nurses working in large public hospitals. But you have to remember that conditions, ratios and shift times vary between the two sectors.


  • Finally, as a nurse in Australia, you can pretty much guarantee your wage will NEVER be the same from week to week. Unless of course you work all early shifts for a set period, every fortnight. Here are some reasons why your pay could vary:
    • Afternoon shifts
    • Night shift
    • Weekend
    • Public holidays
    • Christmas Day (pay differs if it falls on a Saturday in comparison to a Sunday)
    • Switched positions (casual, part time, full time)
    • Overtime
    • You had your “anniversary”, meaning you have an increase in your hourly wage.


What is the Average Nurse Salary in Australia per Division?

Depending on the book you read or the website you’re browsing, the information can vary a lot. Some of the data is based on full time and part time hours, while others are based on casual rates. Some are state specific, while others are Australia wide. So to keep this consistent I have summerised data found on the FairWork Australia website in a document titled, “Pay Guide - Nurses Award 2010” in the table below.

This data is based on part-time/full time employment, Australia wide at 38 hours per week (1,976 hours per year).

However, I should mention that Fair Work Australia states inside the document that, “pay rates change from 1 July each year, the rates in this guide apply from 01 July 2019”. So in other words, these numbers can and probably will change in the future so keep an eye out as of July 2020.



Hourly Rate

Yearly Wage*

Average Wage

Assistant in Nursing

1st year





3rd year and after




Enrolled Nurse

Pay point 1






Pay Point 5





Registered Nurse/Midwife

Graduate. Level 1, pay point 1







Level 5, grade 6




Nurse Practitioner/Advance Practice Nurses

Year 1






Year 2





* Yearly rate calculated (hourly wage x38 hours x 52 weeks)

 So looking at these numbers, the average hourly wage is $30.95, which works out to be $61,157.20 as the average salary a nurse makes per year (before tax).

As for information regarding Nurse Unit Managers and Directors Of Nursing, it’s a little more complex and varies from state to state. Certain states, like Victoria, are under a different “agreement” to other states and so wages will continue to change until 2022.

Here is a snap shot of the approximate wages per year, when working full time for these higher nursing positions and how they vary from state to state.




Vic (5)








Nurse Unit Manager
























Director or Nursing












Information obtained: (3)

In summary: What Is the Average Nurse Salary in Australia per Division?

 As you can see the rate of pay depends a lot on which state you work, the qualifications you hold and how long you remain in the job.

Just remember, these numbers change from year to year so check back with your governing body and make sure you are being paid appropriately!

If you're ready to advance your nursing career and get the pay you deserve, book a course with the Australian Healthcare Academy (AHA) today.


  1. http://awardviewer.fwo.gov.au/award/show/MA000034
  2. https://otr.anmfvic.asn.au/articles/april-pay-boost-for-victorian-public-sector-nurses-and-midwives
  3. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-14/registered-nurse-salary-comparison/9544878
  4. https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/nursing-careers/6/guidance/nc1/what-do-nurses-earn/605/
  5. http://www.anmfvic.asn.au/~/media/files/ANMF/EBA%202016/Nurses-and-Midwives-Vic-PS-SIE-EA-2016-2020-amended

More information:

*We don't guarantee any of these nursing pay rates. This information has been found from the above reputable sources but we can't guarantee the accuracy of all their information and nursing pay rates are very dependable on experience, setting and position.