Living and Working as a GP in Australia
Working as a GP in Australia
Practice models vary widely, however, most GPs work in a group medical practice, where they have administrative and nursing support. Many practices now also employ allied health practitioners, dentists and a range of other health professionals to provide team-based care – particularly for the management of chronic illness. You can work for a private practice or in a public (government funded) practice.
The earning potential of a GP depends on a number of things including your level of qualifications and experience, the location and the hours you work. Click here for a more detailed description of the typical GP salary.
Working hours for doctors vary but ideally, employers are looking for doctors who are willing to work between 24-50 hours a week, however, if you wish to work less it is usually possible. A typical session is half a day (either morning or afternoon) but most practices are very flexible to support doctors in caring for family responsibilities.
Australia is very multicultural, particularly in the larger cities. Some towns and cities are more multicultural than others so it’s good to understand the multicultural mix in the area in which you are considering working. As a doctor, you will work with patients from a range of places; Asia, India, Africa, Europe, and a range of religions. So it’s important that you are comfortable with this and understand some of the cultural sensitivities certain groups have (e.g. Muslim women will often only see female doctors).
Living in Australia
Work/life balance – While it is difficult to make comparisons with other nations, Australians are thought of as relaxed and easy going. But there is also a lot of reliable data to suggest that Australians work very hard. What we do know is that the climate and geography of Australia provide lots of opportunities for outdoor leisure and relaxation. We also know that most employers are respectful of family commitments and provide leave on full pay for about five weeks in the year. Read more
Where is the best place to live in Australia? The best location will differ depending on what lifestyle you are looking for and if you are single or have a family. We can help advise you on the best place for you.
Health Care – Australia has a very good health-care system and one of the highest life expectancies in the world. While a large part of the health system is publicly funded, General Practices operate as private businesses funded in part through subsidies from the government, paid on a fee-for-service basis.
All Permanent Residents and citizens are covered by Medicare – a taxpayer funded health scheme which covers the cost of hospital stays and a wide range of other health services. There is no requirement to have private health insurance, but some people choose to take out private health insurance voluntarily. This allows them to stay in a private hospital and have more choices about the doctor who looks after them. However, if you are a Temporary Resident, it is essential to have private health insurance because you are not covered by Medicare. See this blog entry, “Will I have access to public healthcare in Australia when I move there as a GP?“, for more information.
Housing – The property market in Australia has remained strong in most capital cities. There is a common saying in Australia that house prices double every 10 years and this is definitely true of most cities over the past 10 years. This means that houses can be a good investment. But if you live near a big city or the coast, property prices may be high. Click here for a comparison state vs state.
Most banks won’t extend a loan to Temporary Residents so it can be difficult to buy a house until you are a Permanent Resident. However, if you have a large deposit (approx 30%) then you may find it easier to get a loan from a bank. While Australia has not been impacted heavily by the Global Financial Crisis, it has become more difficult to access loans in recent years.
Renting is a good option – particularly when you first arrive in Australia and don’t know where you want to settle. Although rental prices have increased in recent years, it is still more affordable to rent than to buy. A normal rental lease would be for 12 months, and a bond of one month’s rent is always required up front.
Temporary Residents – When you first move to Australia, it is most likely that you will be a Temporary Resident on a 457 Visa. It is easier to apply for Permanent Residency in Australia once you have arrived.
Permanent Residents – It is advisable to become a Permanent Resident as quickly as possible, once you have become vocationally registered in Australia. If you gain permanent residency before vocational registration, your employment options will be severely limited. The requirements for gaining Permanent Residency, differ widely depending on a range of different factors and need to be assessed on an individual basis.
The Australian school system is based on the British system, but has evolved to have its own distinctive approach. Public schools provide good education so that private education is not generally considered necessary as might be the case in other countries. In some areas, the difference in the quality of education and facilities between private and public school is not very great. The government has recently launched a new website that allows you to compare schools. For more information visit The My School Website. Here are a few interesting facts about the school system:
- The school year starts at the end of January and finishes in mid-December.
- As a Temporary Resident, you may have to pay for public schools. If you are required to pay, the fees will be around $4,000 – $6,000 a year. However, it does depend on the state you are living in.
- Children usually enter the school system starting in Kindergarten or Preschool when they are about four years old. They then move on to Primary School, starting with Grade Prep, and then Grade 1-6. This is followed by High School from Grade 7-12. However, the school system varies between states.
Working in Australia
Australia is rich with job opportunities. There are certainly plenty of jobs for doctors in Australia.
So if you are coming with a partner or grown children, they shouldn’t have too many problems finding work either. This will obviously depend on their occupation and where you live. But we take all of these things into account when helping you find the right GP job or medical specialist job in Australia.
Taxes – In Australia are a little higher than some developed countries. However, many Doctors use accountants to find ways to legally reduce their tax obligations. This can be done with trusts/companies/investing in property and a range of other measures your accountant will recommend. The tax year ends 30 June each year. We can’t give specific information about this but we can put you in contact with an accountant. For more information about tax go to the Australian Tax Office website.
Tax rates 2016-17
|Taxable income||Tax on this income|
|0 – $18,200||Nil|
|$18,201 – $37,000||19c for each $1 over $18,200|
|$37,001 – $87,000||$3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000|
|$87,001 – $180,000||$19,822 plus 37c for each $1 over $87,000|
|$180,001 and over||$54,232 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000|
Live the dream! Move to Australia for your new role as a GP. Browse our GP Jobs here.