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How Victorian nurses wages compare with nurses across Australia

4 July 2007, 12:04pm

Victorian nurses are currently the lowest paid nurses in Australia. ANF is seeking a minimum 18 per cent wage rise over three years for all public sector nurses in the 2007 enterprise bargaining negotiations.

This article includes graphs comparing wages for Division 1 and 2 registered nurses, Nurse Unit Managers and Directors of Nursing with their colleagues in other states and territories.

For the past two rounds of enterprise bargaining negotiations Victorian nurses have concentrated on securing initiatives that have improved workloads and patient safety, which have resulted in unprecedented nurse recruitment. In the past seven years the Victorian Government has recruited more than 7000 nurses, effectively ending the critical nurse shortage in this state.

Whilst wage outcomes achieved up until 2005 have kept pace with other states and territories the situation has now changed dramatically. In particular, over the last two years nurses in Queensland and New South Wales have been awarded wage increases of up to 23 per cent during the life of their enterprise bargaining agreements.

Now it is time to work on Victorian nurses' wages to ensure nurses who have been recruited into a system where they work with safe mandated staffing levels are paid what they are worth and not lured away by more attractive wages in other states. The ANF log of claims is seeking a minimum 18 per cent wage claim over three years for all public sector nurses.

Under the State Government's wage offer of 16.25 per cent over five years (or 3.25 per cent a year) Victorian nurses will remain the lowest paid in the country. The offer is significantly lower than the ACT nurses' recent agreement - a 4.5 per cent increase backdated to March 2007 with a further 3.75 per cent in March 2008 and 2009. A Victorian Division 1 RN Grade 2 Year 4 is already earning almost $150 less than their ACT counterpart and a Victorian Division 2 pay point 4 earns about $80 less. If nurses accept the Victorian Government's offer they will remain the lowest paid nurses in the country.    

The graphs further down this page depict the current rates of pay of a Victorian Registered Nurse in Division 2, Division 1 Grade 2, Nurse Unit Manager and Director of Nursing in comparison to a similarly classified nurse in other Australian states and territories.


 

Time to address Division 1 and Division 2 nurse rates 

As part of the 2007 ANF public sector EBA claim, ANF has sought significant improvements in salaries for all nurses. Including Divisin 1 and Division 2 nurses. The graphs below depict the current rates of pay of a Victorian Registered Nurse Division 2 and Division 1 Grade 2 in comparison to a similarly classified nurse in other Australian states and territories.

The comparisons show that:

  • a Division 2 nurse currently earns $17 per week less than their Queensland peer, $39 per week less than their New South Wales peer and $77 less per week than a similarly classified nurse in the Northern Territory.
  • a Division 1 Grade 2 nurse earns $124 per week less than their New South Wales counterpart, whilst a Nurse Unit Manager earns $250 per week less than their New South Wales peer (NUM graph and DON graph are further below)

Comparison of Victorian Division 1 Grade 2 Year 4 against other Australian nurses

 Public sector Division 2 registered nurse wage comparisons

Given that New South Wales, Queensland, ACT and Northern Territory nurses will all experience further wage increases before the expiry of their current enterprise bargaining agreements, this clearly demonstrates the need to seek wage justice for Victorian nurses in the 2007 public sector enterprise agreement.

The case for wage increases is not simply that Victorian nurses should be paid the same as Queensland nurses. Victorian politicians must not expose our public health system to a skills shortage which could result from an aggressive recruitment campaign from other states or territories paying much higher wages. In addition Victorian nurses can clearly demonstrate productivity improvements since 2004 which merit significant wage rises. 

ANF (Victorian Branch) will be calling on all members to support the Division 1 and Division 2 nurses' claims, as this role is key to the nursing career structure and the success of our overall claims will be enhanced by all nurses working together to address the inequities caused by the underfunding of nursing in Victoria. 
 

Time to address Nurse Unit Managers pay rates

As part of the 2007 ANF public sector EBA claim, ANF has sought significant improvements in salaries for all nurses. With Victorian Nurse Unit Managers 16 per cent behind Queensland Nurse Unit Managers and a massive 25 per cent behind NSW nurse managers, it is crucial that this inequity be addressed.

 Public Sector Nurse Unit Manager wage comparisons

The ANF claim seeks to reinstate the wage difference between an experienced Grade 2 nurse and a Nurse Unit Manager, as it was in the Professional Rates cases determined by the Industrial Relations Commission in the late 1980s. In the 1987 Victorian Industrial Relations Commission decision "Registered Nurses (Salaries and Career Structure) Reference No 2" a full bench of the Victorian Commission decided that a Grade 4 nurse in a major hospital should receive a starting salary of $578 per week, and a Nurse Unit Manager in a non-major hospital $547, while an experienced Grade 2 nurse was awarded $456 per week. This equates to Nurse Unit Managers being entitled to be paid between 20 and 27 per cent more than an experienced Grade 2 nurse.

By 2007 the difference between a Nurse Unit Manager's salary and that of an experienced Grade 2 nurse has reduced to 15 to 21 per cent. This means that, when the ANF claim is successful, Nurse Unit Managers will not only receive the wage increases that all nurses achieve but also an additional five to six per cent increase, which together will bring Victorian Nurse Unite Managers in line with their New South Wales and Queensland counterparts.

ANF (Victorian Branch) will be calling on all members including NUMs to support the Nurse Unit Manager claims, as this role is key to the nursing career structure and the success of our overall claims will be enhanced by all nurses working together to address the inequities caused by the underfunding of nursing in Victoria.


 

Time to address Director of Nursing pay rates

As part of the 2007 ANF public sector EBA claim, ANF has sought significant improvements in salaries for all nurses.

The ANF claim seeks to reinstate the wage difference between an experienced Grade 2 nurse and a Director of Nursing, as it was in the Professional Rates cases determined by the Industrial Relations Commission in the late 1980s. In the 1987 Victorian Industrial Relations Commission decision "Registered Nurses (Salaries and Career Structure) Reference No 2" a full bench of the Victorian Commission decided that a Grade 7 nurse in a small hospital (13-50 beds) should receive a starting salary of $615.80 per week and a Director of Nursing in major hospital (701 beds and over) $987.20, while an experienced Grade 2 nurse was awarded $456 per week. This equates to DONs being entitled between 35 and 116 per cent greater than an experienced Grade 2 nurse.

By 2007 the difference between a Director of Nursing and an experienced Grade 2 nurse has reduced to 24 to 96 per cent. This means that, when the ANF claim is successful, Directors of Nursing will not only receive the wage increases that all nurses achieve but also an additional 11 to 20 per cent increase, which together will bring Victorian Directors of Nursing, paid under the EBA, in line with their New South Wales and Queensland counterparts.

Public Sector Director of Nursing wage comparisons 

ANF (Vic Branch) will be calling on all members to support the senior nursing claims, to ensure the nursing career structure remains. The success of our overall claims will be enhanced by all nurses working together to address the inequities caused by the underfunding of nursing in Victoria.

Contact details

Your ANF Organiser
Ph: 03 9275 9333

Further information

Voice your support on the Fund Nursing Properly campaign website
Related Links
Fund nursing properly campaign website

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What nurses have achieved during their EBA negotiations since 1997
A snapshot of nurses' key wins over the past decade.
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Resources
2007 public sector nurses claim
This log of claims was endorsed at a statewide Job Reps meeting in February 2007. The claims include a minimum 18 per cent wage rise and improvements to nurse patient and nurse resident ratios.
pdf
2007 Royal District Nursing Service Claim
This log of claims was endorsed at a statewide RDNS Job Reps meeting in February 2007. The claims include a minimum 18 per cent wage rise and improvements to workloads.
pdf
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© Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch), 2006
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