Doctor salary by specialty in Australia and New Zealand

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The healthcare systems in Australia and New Zealand are renowned for their quality and efficiency, providing a wide range of career opportunities for medical professionals across various specialties. While salary is a significant factor when considering a career path, it's important to view each specialty holistically, considering the range of rewards and challenges each presents. This article aims to shed light on the average pay across different specialties while emphasising the unique aspects and non-monetary perks each specialty offers.

Please note these specialties are presented in no particular order, and the salary figures mentioned in this article are intended as a general guide and can vary significantly. Salaries for doctors depend on various factors including, but not limited to, geographic location, medical specialty, years of experience, type of employer (public or private sector), and individual qualifications and certifications. Changes in the healthcare industry, market demands, and economic factors can also influence salary rates. Individuals should conduct further research or consult with professional bodies for the most current and specific salary information in their respective medical fields.

General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs play an extremely important role in the Australian healthcare system, often serving as the first point of contact. The average annual salary ranges from AUD $200,000 to AUD $350,000, influenced by location and hours worked. In New Zealand, GPs earn an average of NZD $125,000 to NZD $250,000 annually. The role offers a great work-life balance, with opportunities to work in various settings, from urban centres to remote communities.

Locum rates for 2024: AUD/NZD $2,000 - $2,500 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Working as a General Practitioner offers great work-life balance, holiday and annual leave options, the ability to work 9 am—5 pm, and the opportunity to work for yourself or run your own practice. GPs enjoy diverse cases, deep patient relationships, and community impact. They shape health outcomes across lifespans, offering holistic care that blends physical, psychological, and social wellness.

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine physicians in both countries enjoy competitive salaries, with averages from AUD/NZD $250,000 to AUD/NZD $400,000. This specialty is known for its dynamic environment and opportunities to make immediate, life-saving decisions.

Locum rates for 2024: AUD/NZD $2,000 - $3,500 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Emergency medicine offers fast-paced, diverse experiences, critical problem-solving, the joy of immediate patient impact, teamwork, and the opportunity for continuous learning and growth.


Surgical specialties are highly diverse, ranging from general surgery to more specific fields like neurosurgery and orthopedics. Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand can expect salaries from AUD/NZD $300,000 to over AUD/NZD $500,000, with sub-specialties and experience level influencing earnings.

Locum rates for 2024: AUD/NZD $2,000 - $4,000 per day

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Benefits outside of salary: Surgeons enjoy the privilege of making immediate, life-changing interventions, the satisfaction of tangible results, continuous learning in a dynamic field, and the respect and trust of both peers and patients.


Psychiatrists play a vital role in addressing mental health, with salaries averaging AUD/NZD $250,000 to AUD/NZD $400,000.The specialty offers a unique blend of medical and therapeutic approaches, with growing opportunities in telehealth.

Locum rates for 2024: AUD/NZD $2,000 - $3,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Psychiatrists have the unique opportunity to deeply impact mental health, enjoy diverse work settings from clinics to telehealth, benefit from a flexible schedule, and engage in meaningful patient relationships that foster holistic healing.

Obstetrics & Gynecology (O&G)

Specialists in O&G enjoy the unique privilege of managing women's health and participating in the life-changing moment of childbirth. Salaries range from AUD $250,000 to AUD $500,000.. This field combines surgery with outpatient care, offering a dynamic and rewarding work environment.

Top locum rate for 2024: $2,500 - $4,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: O&G doctors experience the profound joy of guiding families through birth and reproductive health journeys, promoting the wellbeing of both mothers and babies, and offering unique challenges and unparalleled personal rewards in diverse settings.

General Medicine

Physicians in General Medicine are the backbone of healthcare, providing comprehensive care to adults. With salaries averaging between AUD/NZD $150,000 to AUD $500,000, General Medicine offers the chance to build long-term patient relationships and engage in varied clinical challenges.

Locum rates for 2024: $2,500 - $4,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: General Medicine doctors enjoy a vast and varied case mix, providing holistic care and building long-term patient relationships while constantly expanding their medical knowledge and expertise.

Intensive Care

Intensive Care specialists are critical in managing patients with life-threatening conditions, with earnings from AUD/NZD 300,000 to AUD/NZD 500,000. This specialty is known for its high-stakes environment and the use of advanced medical technologies.

Locum rates for 2024: $2,500 - $3,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Intensive Care Medicine offers the thrill of high-stakes decision-making, the satisfaction of critical patient recovery, and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology in a team-focused environment.


Anaesthetists in both countries enjoy high earning potential, with salaries ranging from AUD/NZD $300,000 to AUD/NZD $450,000. The specialty is critical to surgical procedures, offering a mix of technical skill and patient care.

Locum rates for 2024: $2,500 - $4,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Anaesthetists enjoy a unique blend of patient care and technical skill, autonomy in clinical decision-making, and an important role in surgery, ensuring patient comfort and safety.


Paediatricians, dedicated to the health of children from infancy through adolescence, earn between AUD/NZD $200,000 to AUD/NZD $350,000. This specialty is rewarding, with opportunities to make a lasting impact on patients' lives.

Locum rates for 2024: $2,500 - $4,000 per day

Benefits outside of salary: Paediatricians experience the profound reward of nurturing child health, influencing young lives positively, and witnessing developmental milestones while collaborating closely with families.

Beyond the paycheck

Choosing a specialty in medicine is an important decision that shapes a doctor's career path, lifestyle, and personal fulfilment. While salaries can indicate demand and value placed on certain specialties, it's essential to consider the broader spectrum of rewards, including work-life balance, personal interests, and the unique contributions each specialty makes to patient care.

While salary is an important consideration, each specialty offers unique non-monetary benefits. From the satisfaction of saving lives in emergency medicine to the long-term patient relationships fostered in general practice, each field contributes significantly to society's wellbeing. Other perks include flexible work arrangements in locuming, opportunities for research and academia, and the personal fulfilment of improving patients' lives.

Medrecruit Editorial Team
25 March 2024Article by Medrecruit Editorial TeamMedrecruit Editor