|Living in Australia|
8.1 Attitude - Are you prepared to live without expectation, be understanding of unfamiliar behaviours and learn new ways of doing things or finding information? Australia has many free and low cost resources available to you and to access these, you need to take off the metaphorical glasses you were wearing in your previous location and prepare for a new lens here in Australia.
Get access to extra help through:
Lifeline (24 hour telephone advice and referral service) Telephone 13 1114
Kids Help Line (Aged 5-25) Telephone 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia Telephone 1300 789 978
Women’s Information Referral Exchange Telephone 1300 134 130
Government Information for Young People
8.2 Be Prepared - Emergencies can occur at any time, so you need to find out how to ring for an ambulance (dial triple zero 000) and be an ambulance member to avoid an expensive bill. You also need to find your closest hospitals (from home and work) and start your personal medical history with a local General Practitioner (GP) – it is a good idea to ask to be recommended to a local GP or medical clinic.
If you need to see a specialist, you will need to go to the doctor (GP) first and receive a referral notice. Men in particular need to make sure that they visit the doctors regularly and ensure that their medical needs are addressed (do not put off going to the doctors if you have any unusual symptoms). A free telephone translation service is available at every medical facility.
The Medicare Information Kit contains important information about Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, Australian Organ Donor Register and Family Assistance Office. Find out about your entitlements to Medicare, how to get a Medicare card, how to enrol your children on the Immunisation Register, how to become an organ donor etc.
Medical pharmacies in Australia will only provide prescription medications with a prescription. You will need to see a doctor first, in particular for anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories to obtain a prescription. Depending on your visa, you may also need to organize your own health and hospital insurance as you may not be entitled to receive assistance from the government sponsored Medicare system.
If you need medical attention outside of normal hours but it is not an emergency, it is better to go to an after hours medical clinic, a locum service or telephone Nurse On Call http://www.health.vic.gov.au/nurseoncall/ 1300 60 60 24 as non-urgent cases that arrive at a hospital will need to wait a long time to see a doctor.
8.3 Cars - These are a very popular form of transport in Australia so as soon as you arrive, make an effort to get a driver's license (which is also used as a form of identity), even if you are not planning to purchase a car. You will need to find the state based road transport authority and follow their guidelines. It is also a good idea to join the local Royal Automobile Association for discounts and affordable roadside assistance in the case of a breakdown.
Registration and Licensing Information
8.4 Development – When you move to a new location, after all of your personal affairs are sorted, you will usually find that you have some extra time available that you can use to learn a new skill, language, hobby, sport etc. There are many free and low cost options available in cities and communities around Australia so make an effort to get involved, participate and enjoy the many benefits of living in Australia
8.5 Education - It is expected that most students will complete primary and secondary education before moving on to tertiary education (either vocational or university studies). There are some very good state funded schools (particularly in metropolitan areas where there are also many private schools close by) and various types of independent and non-government schools (for instance, Catholic schools).
Our western style of education encourages students to take responsibility and use their own effort to achieve good results and you must not plagiarise, copy other people's work or cheat to achieve good results. Schools have various programs to encourage integration with all students from all backgrounds, so make an effort to participate in various activities and seminars to meet new people and learn extra information.
Whilst there is some Australia-wide control of education, most states have state authorities that are responsible for local administration. Make an effort to visit educational facilities (not just look at their websites) and talk to current users and local people to gather extra unwritten information.
Education and Training
Life in Australia is so much easier and better if you can read, write and speak clear English. Make an effort to improve your English – both through funded training and extra courses and activities.
8.6 Food - It is vital for you to make an effort to source the same types of food and ingredients that you have consumed in the past. This will help you feel more at home and trigger off your fond memories and sense of being well satisfied. There are various stores that specialise in cuisine items from particular countries, but you may also find that local precincts of say Chinese goods stores will also stock items that you may not find in the local markets or supermarkets (like non traditional fruits or vegetables). Restaurants close to universities often provide cheaper meals for students. It is much cheaper to purchase from open markets than supermarkets, particularly near closing times.
8.7 Gardening - Many homes in Australia still have gardens in the front or the back of the house/unit and you are expected to maintain the garden, including the area next to the roadway. It is reasonably cost effective to hire a gardener to receive regular maintenance (check your local newspaper). If you are in a rental property, you need to maintain the garden and only renovate/remove plants with the landlord's permission. You can also visit some private gardens through Australia's Open Garden Scheme.
8.8 Housing - If you have arrived in Australia without Australian references, you may find it difficult to secure a rental property. What may assist your application is an increase in the amount of 'Bond' money or a prepayment of one month or more of rent. You also have a variety of rights and responsibilities as a tenant - and it is important to understand the local rules and regulations to ensure that you do not lose your bond payment or live in unsuitable conditions.
It is not a good idea to purchase a new residence immediately upon your arrival - it takes some time to familiarise yourself with a local area and its amenities/access to your workplace/schools etc - and there are many fees associated with buying and selling a property so you need to make your decision carefully. Each state government has its own consumer affairs or fair trading organisation and they usually publish good quality information for home renters or purchasers.
Real Estate Institute of Australia
Real Estate (Purchasing and Rental Property)
Real Estate Institute of Victoria
Housing and Property
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Tenants Union of Victoria