The Australian Rugby Union (ARU), the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) and five Australian Super Rugby franchises on Wednesday signed off on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to replace the last deal struck almost a decade ago.
The new CBA is set to save the ARU more than 10 per cent of its player payment costs.
The cash-strapped code said match payments for nationally-contracted Wallabies players will be reduced to $10,000 from next year until the end of 2017 - a drop of about $50,000 a year for a player involved in every Test.
Assembly allowances for training camps and Test matches will also be cut.
But the RUPA have negotiated an increase in the minimum individual player salaries for all Super Rugby squad players, as well as boosting their share of gross player revenue from 26 per cent to 29 per cent.
Non-nationally contracted Wallabies will get an increase of $2000 to $12,000 a Test in 2016 and 2017.
And for the first time, the new CBA also includes a $5 million salary cap for each of Australia's five Super Rugby teams per season.
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the new agreement required significant compromises from all parties.
"I must say I've been delighted with the willingness on behalf of the players to accept compromises which are clearly supporting the financial health of the game," he told reporters in Sydney.
"There are a number of new initiatives that we would like to launch in order to improve the future of rugby in Australia, and I can confidently tell you that the players are certainly pulling their weight in terms of supporting a path towards those outcomes."
While the ARU opted against introducing incentive-based match payments for players as called for by Wallabies great Nick Farr-Jones, Pulver said he would not rule out such a concept when the next CBA is up for discussion.
"In a commercial sense I do appreciate the benefits of a basic pay-for-performance concept - whether you work in rugby or in the corporate world," he said.
"But at this particular juncture I'm delighted with the outcome. I have zero concern about whether the Wallaby players are putting in all of the effort required to win games.
"I see the way they respond when they've lost games. I have no concern at all about the fact that they are performing to the absolute best of their ability.
"To date, we just haven't been good enough to win these competition games. But we'll get there."
RUPA chief executive Greg Harris said the game's elite players understood the financial constraints facing the code and the need to tighten the purse strings.
"They viewed it as a situation to take a little bit of short-term pain in the view of getting some longer-term gains - and some immediate gains, as far as raising the minimum salaries for players," Harris said.
The CBA also includes minimum workplace standards for the Australian men's and women's Rugby Sevens squads, an agreement to design a player draft for first-year professional contracts and the need to improve player development through a third-tier national rugby competition - which Pulver hopes to kick off next year.
KEY FEATURES OF THE AUSTRALIAN RUGBY UNION'S NEW CBA AGREEMENT
* Reduced Test match payments for Wallabies from $13,100 to $10,000 in 2014 and 2015 for all players
* In 2016 and 2017, payments for nationally contracted players will remain at $10,000 but will increase to $12,000 for non-nationally contracted players
* Reduced assembly allowances for Wallabies training camps and Test matches
* Inclusion of $5 million salary cap per season for Australia's five Super Rugby teams
* Increase in players' share of Gross Player Revenue from 26% to 29%
* Increase of more than 15% in minimum individual player salaries:
- Core squad playing group ($62,447 in 2013; $65,000 in 2014; $67,500 in 2015; $72,500 in 2016; $75,000 in 2017)
- Extended playing squad ($42,795 in 2013; $45,000 in 2014; $47,500 in 2015; $50,000 in 2016; $52,500 in 2017)
* Agreement to design a player draft for first-year professional contracts, to operate in conjunction with new Super Rugby development squads
* Increased ARU investment in player education and welfare
* Agreement on the need to improve player development pathways in Australia through a commitment to a national rugby competition