Australia

consultant/specialist money introduction.

These next series of posts will be about remuneration and associated benefits for Consultant/Specialists in Australia. This is a quick primer (love that word) for you.

The famous Australian public sector medical salaries and allowances. Juicy.

Admit it, this is the stuff you want to know above all else. If you’ve clicked through other pages to assuage the guilt that you’re nothing more than a materialistic, money hungry wage slave. I get it. It’s human nature.  Even for a doctor. After all, no-one goes to work in a private hospital in Saudi Arabia for social justice reasons.

I’ll do a state or territory each post for Consultants/ Specialists. Then a post for GPs, then one junior and middle grade.

Why do doctors move to Australia? Why does anybody migrate anywhere? With Brexit, a ravaged NHS, political upheaval pretty much everywhere, politics in the USA dangerously dysfunctional, the Middle East in turmoil, there are a lot of reasons Doctors hightail it to a peaceful, affluent, country that has a well resourced, well respected first class health system delivering universal healthcare which pays well with added sunshine.

In a previous post I mentioned that health operations are devolved to the states and territory governments in Australia. This means remuneration and benefits policy is localised to these administrative governments and why salaries and allowances vary depending on which state or territory you work in.

Remuneration within the public system for Consultant/Specialists is managed by an industrial agreement referred to as the ‘award’. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) negotiates the ‘award’ with each state and territory government. Each A ward has a lifespan of approx.  3 years before it is renegotiated with agreed increases each year in the document. If you get offered a job by a service in September and it will take 12 months to get you to Australia, your base salary offered in September will be different to what you will get paid when you start because of the scheduled agreed annual increase in base salary amounts stated in the specific state or territory’s Award. 

Note that contract lengths vary between state and territory. Australia does not offer OTD (overseas trained doctor) 6 or 12 month contracts that the New Zealand Health Boards do. You can’t locum as a Consultant/Specialist in Australia without fellowship of your specialist college in Australia.

The fact the medical registration and college assessment process can take 9-12 months makes short contracts redundant. Contract lengths range 2-5 years and give you all the benefits of a substantive/permanent/fixed term contract job e.g. annual leave, sick leave etc.

Please note, there are no penalties in any state or territory if you leave during your contract term – except if you leave within 12 months and then they only ask for you to pay your moving costs back. A health service will normally have a clause in your contract that you pay a pro-rata’d amount of your relocation costs back if you leave within a year. 

In most of the states and territories a remuneration committee will decide what level of base salary to pay you on once you have been selected by the interview panel as the preferred candidate. You can push back if you feel the base salary is too low based on your understanding of the award in that state or territory but you need to have a very good case and have considered the potential impact of such a negotiation. A helpful agency medical recruiter can assist here.

My next post will detail Queensland remuneration & all allowances, benefits for consultant/specialists. Watch this space chooks.

Photo credit:
Faris Kassim

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