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Nurse Salary Australia: Official Pay Rates

In 2024, the average salary for a registered nurse in Australia is $86,861.

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How much does a nurse make in Australia?

The average salary for a registered nurse is $86,861 per year or $43.81 per hour. Graduate positions start at $72,118 annually, while experienced clinical nurses earn up to $107,382 per year.

Average registered nurse salary: $86,861 per year | $7,238 per month | $3,329 per fortnight | $1,665 per week | $334 per day | $43.81 per hour.

Nurse salary in Australia after tax

For the 2023-24 financial year in Australia, a nurse earning an average annual taxable income of $86,861 can expect an after-tax salary of $66,427. This estimate includes income tax of $18,697 and a Medicare levy of $1,737. On top of the salary, the employer pays a compulsory superannuation contribution of $9,555 towards retirement savings.

How Much Do Nurses Get Paid in Australia?

Nurses across Australia enjoy consistently solid pay rates. Entry-level positions range from $67,759 in Victoria to $80,342 in Queensland, with a national average of $72,118. By the fifth year, nurses can expect to earn between $82,109 in Tasmania and $95,469 in Queensland, with the average across Australia rising to $86,861.

Table 1. Nurse salaries in 2024

State Graduate 5th year Clinical Nurse
NSW $70,050 $85,813 $113,556
VIC $67,759 $83,548 $99,593
QLD $80,342 $95,469 $112,236
WA $75,957 $87,116 $105,002
SA $72,651 $84,870 $107,279
TAS $69,835 $82,109 $96,428
ACT $72,698 $86,024 $107,000
NT $76,035 $93,085 $113,096

Updated: 13 November 2023. Averages for Australia are weighted by state populations. Hourly rates assume 38 hours per week. 'Clinical Nurse' salaries are the top rates for a level above a regular RN, corresponding with 'Clinical Nurse Specialist' in NSW and VIC, Level 2 RNs in WA and the ACT, a Grade 4 Nurse in TAS, and Nurse 3 in the NT.

Sources: NSW Public Nurse Award 2023,  VIC Nurse Enterprise Agreement 2020-24, QLD Nurse Certificate Agreement 2022, WA Nurse Salary Adjustments 2023, SA Nurse Enterprise Agreement 2022-25, TAS Nurses and Midwives Salary Rates, ACT Public Sector Nurse Agreement, NT Public Nurses 2022-26 Agreement

At the top end of the pay scale, highly experienced nurses earn from $96,428 per year in Tasmania to $113,556 in New South Wales. They are recognised as 'Clinical Nurse Specialists' in NSW and Victoria, 'Clinical Nurses' in Queensland and South Australia, 'Level 2 Registered Nurses' in Western Australia and the ACT, 'Grade 4 Nurses' in Tasmania, and 'Nurse 3' in the Northern Territory.

What Is the Highest-Paid Nurse in Australia?

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The highest paid nurse in Australia is Nurse Practitioner (NP). The salary for an experienced NP reaches an average maximum of $143,509 across Australia. NPs are the highest paid nurses who engage in clinical nursing practice. However, higher salaries are attainable in senior corporate and executive roles.

Table 2. Nursing jobs ranked by highest salary, 2024

Rank Job classification Highest pay grade*
1 Nurse Practitioner $143,509
2 Nurse Unit Manager $133,952
=3 Clinical Nurse Consultant $133,358
=3 Clinical Nurse Educator $133,358
5 Clinical Nurse Specialist $108,560
6 Registered Nurse / Midwife $98,692

* Maximum salary for a nurse with 10+ years of experience. Figures for Australia are averages, weighted by state populations. Averages may be based on figures for NSW, VIC, and QLD only. Source: Highest Paid Nurses in Australia (Ranked)

Following nurse practitioners are nurse unit managers, clinical nurse consultants, and nurse educators. Salaries in these positions are similar to one another, around $10k below that for an NP. Thus, as well as nursing practice, RNs can achieve high salaries by advancing into management, clinical consultancy, and nurse eduction roles.

For most job classifications, the highest-paid nurses live and work in Queensland. While nursing pay rates are broadly similar across Australia, the Queensland Government lifted salaries and offered incentive bonuses to encourage healthcare professionals to move to Queensland, especially rural areas.

Related: Master of Nursing Salary in Australia

Payscale for Nursing in Australia

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The payscale for nursing in Australia is shown in Table 3. Around 9 in 10 nurses in Australia are registered nurses. For each year of service up until around the 8th year, public sector nurses receive a pay rise determined by state-level enterprise bargaining agreements.

Table 3. Registered nurse basic salary by years of service, 2024

1 $70,050 $67,759 $80,342 $75,957 $72,651 $69,835 $72,698 $76,035 $72,118
2 $73,848 $71,579 $84,120 $78,585 $74,927 $72,904 $75,522 $80,128 $75,644
3 $77,663 $75,393 $87,903 $81,319 $78,131 $75,973 $78,631 $84,221 $79,255
4 $81,753 $79,484 $91,680 $84,160 $81,474 $79,039 $82,326 $88,315 $83,054
5 $85,813 $83,548 $95,469 $87,116 $84,870 $82,109 $86,024 $93,085 $86,861
6 $89,846 $87,503 $99,265 $90,191 $88,283 $85,176 $89,718 $96,667 $90,635
7 $94,469 $91,975 $103,053 $93,389 $91,700 $88,251 $93,413 $100,596 $94,743
8 $98,351 $95,706 $103,053 $96,712 $95,114 $89,272 $97,112 $101,612 $97,606
9 $98,351 $95,706 $103,053 $96,712 $99,129 $90,162 $97,112 $101,612 $97,902

Updated: 15 November 2023. These annual salaries apply at the start of 2024. New pay rates are typically applied annually, with the timing of changes varying by state or territory.

Note that further pay increases are possible by advancing to higher classifications, although the terminology varies by state and territory. Terms for the next level up beyond Registered Nurse include Clinical Nurse Specialist and RN Level 2.

Additionally, pay allowances are available for factors such as shift work, non-standard working hours, casual employment, meal allowances, etc. Payments vary according to each state or territory's agreement.

Related: Nursing Certification Programs in Australia

Increase Your Pay With Online Courses

Nurses around Australia are doing online courses to advance their careers and earn higher salaries. Study part-time online while working full-time. There are no exams. Graduates are eligible for qualification allowances (extra income) and higher-paying jobs.

JCU Online - Graduate Certificate of Nursing

The Graduate Certificate of Nursing from James Cook University is a part-time, 8-month course. It's designed for nurses seeking career growth. Specialise in advanced practice, education, or leadership. Start dates are available six times a year. The program paves the way for higher positions and a master's degree.

UTS Online - Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing

UTS Online's Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing prepares registered nurses for specialist and senior roles. Topics include specialty clinical practice and applied pathophysiology. UTS is ranked first in Australia for nursing academic reputation. Completing this certificate offers a pathway to a Master of Advanced Nursing.

SCU Online - Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing

The Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing from SCU Online is a flexible, 8-month part-time course. It's aimed at registered nurses looking to step into mental health nursing, guiding them towards credentialing. To join, you'll need to be a Division 1 Registered Nurse with access to a mental health practice setting.