Show me the money: the highest surgeons’ salary in Australia

Surgeon - What does a surgeon make

A surgeon’s salary is amongst the highest for doctor jobs in Australia.   According to the Australian Taxation Office’s latest figures, surgeons have the highest national taxable salary, hauling in an average taxable income of around AUD$394,000. This makes them the best paid in Australia (and in the medical profession). Anaesthetists are a close second at over AUD$350,000.

Here are typical pay rates for locum specialist general surgeons, RMOs and registrars:

· Resident medical officers (RMO): AUD$80 – $200 per hour

· Registrars: AUD$100 – $250 per hour

· Consultant general surgeons: AUD$2,000 – $3,500 per day  

Where’s the highest surgeon’s salary? 

There are many factors affecting how much you’ll get paid as a surgeon: salary packaging, hours worked, qualifications, and entry-level vs senior experience, to name just a few. Surgeons working in major metropolitan areas can be among the highest earners, but there are generous salaries on offer to tempt surgeons into more rural areas too.  

Average salary for surgeons by state: 

New South Wales (NSW) Base Salary: AUD$250,000 - $450,000 With added professional allowances and benefits, a surgeon's total package can reach up to AUD $500,000 or more.

Victoria (VIC) Base Salary: AUD$240,000 - $440,000 Additional allowances, overtime, and on-call benefits can augment the base amount.

Queensland (QLD) Base Salary: AUD$240,000 - $430,000 Surgeons may also benefit from rural incentives, overtime, and on-call allowances.

Western Australia (WA) Base Salary: AUD$250,000 - $450,000 Total remuneration, including additional allowances, can push the higher end of the scale.

South Australia (SA) Base Salary: AUD$230,000 - $420,000 Additional benefits for overtime, on-call duties, and professional development can be significant.

Tasmania (TAS) Base Salary: AUD$230,000 - $420,000 As with other states, various allowances can boost the overall package.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Base Salary: AUD$240,000 - $440,000 The total package, when including other allowances, can be competitive with larger states.

Northern Territory (NT) Base Salary: AUD$245,000 - $435,000 Given the remote nature of many communities in NT, there may be additional rural and remote incentives available.

Remember, these figures are estimates and can change based on negotiations, the particular hospital or clinic, the level of experience, and the specific surgical specialty. It's also vital to factor in the cost of living in each state, which can impact the real value of the salary. For the most accurate and up-to-date figures, consult your recruitment specialist.

Nuerosurgeon's salary:

 When individual specialties are considered, it’s neurosurgeons who come out on top. In Australia, neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals, reflecting their extensive training and the complexity of their work. The average salary for a neurosurgeon ranges from AUD$300,000 to over AUD$800,000 annually. Experienced neurosurgeons, especially those in private practice, can earn over a million dollars. Factors influencing this range include years of experience, location (urban vs. rural), and whether they work in public hospitals, private practice, or a combination of both. It's also worth noting that salaries can vary by state, with certain regions offering incentives for specialists.

Orthopaedic surgeon's salary:

Orthopaedic surgeons are hot on the heels of neurosurgeons. Orthopaedic surgeons in Australia are among the top earners in the medical profession. An orthopaedic surgeon's average salary in Australia typically ranges from AUD$250,000 to AUD$500,000 per annum. However, senior surgeons with vast experience, particularly those in private practice or with sub-specialisations, can earn upwards of AUD$1 million annually. This salary range is influenced by factors such as experience, location (with potential rural incentives), and the balance between public hospital and private practice work. Regional differences also play a role, with some states potentially offering higher compensation.

Cardiothoracic surgeon's salary:

Cardiothoracic surgeons are also top earners in 2024! Cardiothoracic surgeons in Australia deal with a highly specialised field, performing intricate surgeries on the heart, lungs, and other thoracic structures. Reflecting the complexity and precision required, they command one of the top salaries within the surgical specialties. A cardiothoracic surgeon in Australia can expect an average salary ranging from AUD$300,000 to AUD$550,000 annually. Experienced surgeons, especially those with a significant private practice or specific niche expertise, can earn substantially more, sometimes surpassing AUD$1 million a year. Variations in salary can arise due to factors like geographic location, experience, and the balance of public to private work.   Doctors working in Australia can expect to be well-remunerated for their work. Locum surgeons can up to AUD$3,500 a day and quality of life ranks highly.

Locum doctors are earning up to $4000/day. How does your salary compare? Find out in our free 2024 Australian Doctor Job Market.
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Rachael Walsh
06 November 2023Article by Rachael WalshMedrecruit Editor