Health & Safety in Australia
Further health information for overseas visitors to Australia is available from the Department of Health and Aged Care overseas visitor information web page. The cost of medical and hospital care in Australia can be very expensive; it is highly advisable that all overseas visitors take out some form of health insurance cover, including ambulance cover.
While Australia holds reciprocal health care agreements with the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Malta, New Zealand and Ireland, these agreements do not cover all health services, and time restrictions apply in some cases. Visitors from these countries are therefore advised to take out some form of health insurance cover. There is a wealth of information about pharmaceuticals, organ donation, immunisation, Indigenous health available.
All visitors in Australia travelling on student visas are required to be insured with the Overseas Student Health Cover, which is administered by Medibank Private.
Visitors and temporary residents to Australia generally do not have access to Australia's national public health care system.
Internet information is available from the Department of Health and Aged Care and Health Insurance Commission.
Medicinal products brought into Australia are subject to strict controls and should be declared on arrival by using the red channel exits from baggage halls.
An import permit may be required for products containing prohibited substances such as narcotics, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquillisers, hallucinogens, growth hormones, anabolic and androgenic steroids and erythropoietin (EPO).
Some medicinal products may also require quarantine clearance.
Medicines with components of human or animal origin, and traditional medicines which contain, or represent to contain, protected wildlife species, have special import requirements or restrictions.
Sporting teams and visitors may bring in limited quantities of medications with them, subject to certain conditions.
Medicinal products brought in by visitors but not used should be taken out of Australia on departure. As a general rule, visitors may bring medications required for personal use. The maximum amount allowable is three months' supply.
Medications should be kept in the containers in which they were dispensed or supplied. Visitors needing to bring prohibited substances should check about import permit requirements, and also bring a letter from their doctor or medical practitioner.
Visitors must not send medications in advance through the post or as unaccompanied goods.
For more information regarding prescription and non prescription medicines, please visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration web site.
Safety On the Road
- Defensive Driving - this involves being aware of what is happening in and around the vehicle you are driving, so that you identify the possible dangers and avoid accidents in spite of the mistakes of other drivers or bad road conditions. It also involves driving at a safe speed, driving appropriately for the road and weather conditions, not driving after drinking, not driving when tired, and taking frequent breaks on long trips.
- Driver Fatigue - due to the long distances travelled in Australia, driver fatigue is a major contributor to raod accidents. Here are some tips from the RTA for avoiding a fatigue-related accident: take a break from driving at least every two hours; get a good night's sleep before a long trip; share the driving whenever possible; avoid long drives after work; avoid drinking before driving, pull over and stop when drowsiness, discomfort or loss of concentration occurs; find out whether any medicine you are taking may affect your driving.
- Accidents - In the event that you involved in or are at the scene of an accident you should: stop immediately; use headlights, indicator lights or hazard lights to warn other drivers, and to light up the scene if it is dark; if possible send someone to warn oncoming drivers; help the injured; dial 000 to make contact with Police (and/or Ambulance) if anyone is killed or injured or if property damage of more than $500 has occurred; exchange drivers' names, addresses, registration numbers and names of vehicle owners with others involved in the crash; and clear the road of broken glass and debris;
Safety at the Beach
- Always swim or surf at a beach patrolled by lifesavers.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest areas to swim.
- Always swim under supervision. Or with a friend.
- Read and obey the signs.
- If you are unsure of conditions, ask a lifesaver.
- Don't swim directly after a meal.
- Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Don't run and dive in the water.
- Conditions change regularly, check before you enter the water.
- If you get into trouble in the water, don't panic - signal for help, float and wait for assistance.
- Use at least 15+ sun screen and wear a shirt, hat and sun screen. (30+ available)
- Float with a rip current or undertow. Do not swim against it.
Personal Safety Tips
While Australia is considered to be a very safe country, obviously it is still wise to avoid dangerous situations. Information pertaining to riks that may be present in the area you are visiting is usually available from the local visitor information bureau.
Following are some safety tips to help you enjoy your visit.
This information is general in nature and not advice on any particular circumstance. Australiatravelsearch expressly disclaims any liability to any person in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in reliance on this information.
- Avoid dark public spaces when alone
- Avoid hitchiking and never hitchike alone
- Always let someone know where you are and where you are going
- Take care when using automated teller machines (ATM's) and secure your cash quickly
- Keep valuables out of sight and secure while travelling
- Always use protection when having sexual intercourse
- Drink Alcohol in moderation