WHAT TO DO SOON AFTER ARRIVAL

Below is a list of 8 important things you should do as soon as possible after arriving in Australia. Tick them off as you do them.

  • Apply for a Tax File Number
  • Register with Medicare
  • Open a bank account
  • Register with Centrelink
  • Contact the Health Undertaking Service
  • Register for English classes
  • Enrol your children in a school
  • Apply for a driver’s licence

HOW TO APPLY FOR A TAX FILE NUMBER

In Australia, you can telephone the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and have an application form sent to you. Alternatively, you can apply for a TFN at the ATO website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Forms are also available from ATO or Centrelink shopfronts which are listed in the White Pages telephone book.


AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE (ATO) CONTACT DETAILS

Telephone 13 2861 Website  www.ato.gov.au

REGISTER WITH MEDICARE AND CONSIDER TAKING OUT PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

The Australian Government provides help with medical expenses through a scheme called Medicare. The government also subsidises the cost of most medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Medicare and the PBS are administered by Medicare Australia.

You may be eligible to join Medicare and gain immediate access to health care services and programmes. These include free public hospital care, help with the cost of out-of-hospital care, and subsidised medicines.

HOW TO ENROL WITH MEDICARE

To enrol in Medicare, you should go to a Medicare office 7 to 10 days after your arrival in Australia and bring your passport, travel documents and permanent visa. If all registration requirements are met, you will be advised of your Medicare card number and your card will be posted to you about 3 weeks later. In most cases you will pay for medical care then receive a refund for some of the payment. If you need to see a doctor urgently, you can register with Medicare without waiting 7 to 10 days and ask for an interim number.

Emergency treatment is available on a 24 hour basis at the ‘Casualty’ or ‘Emergency’ departments of public hospitals.


MEDICARE CONTACT DETAILS

Telephone13 2011    Medicare website    www.medicareaustralia.gov.au 

OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT

In Australia, people keep their money in a bank, building society or credit union. Most income including salary and wages and government benefits is paid directly into an account. Australians use bankcards and credit cards for many purposes.

It is advisable to open a bank, building society or credit union account within 6 weeks of your arrival, as you usually need only your passport as identification. After 6 weeks you will need additional identification to open an account, and you may have difficulty if you don’t have many documents. Advise your bank of your Tax File Number (TFN) to avoid higher rates of taxation on interest earned.

For further information on opening a bank account go to the website below.

Smarter Banking – make the most of your money   www.bankers.asn.au


REGISTER WITH CENTRELINK

Help with job seeking, social security payments and other assistance is provided through the government agency called Centrelink. Newly arrived residents can register with Centrelink to get help with looking for work, having overseas skills recognised, and accessing relevant courses. Centrelink also has Tax File Number application forms and can assist you to lodge your application with the Tax Office, so that access to any payments is not delayed. If you have children, you may be eligible for government-funded Family Assistance payments to help with the cost of raising them.


CENTRELINK CONTACT DETAILS

Telephone13 1021  Website www.centrelink.gov.au    


CONTACT THE HEALTH UNDERTAKING SERVICE

If you signed a Health Undertaking (Form 815) at the request of a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) overseas post, you must ring the Health Undertaking Service after you arrive in Australia.

Once you contact the Health Undertaking Service, they will advise you of the nearest Health Authority Clinic where you can have your follow-up medical checks.

Health Undertaking Service 1800 811 334
(9am – 4pm, Monday to Friday)

REGISTER FOR ENGLISH CLASSES

Communicating in English is very important and the key to your successful settlement.

English language courses for new arrivals in Australia are provided under the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP). As a new resident, you may be entitled to receive free English language tuition of up to 510 hours (additional hours may be available to humanitarian entrants). The AMEP offers a number of learning options to suit a range of circumstances. Register as soon as possible or you could lose your entitlement to classes.


ENROL YOUR CHILDREN IN A SCHOOL

Under Australian law, children between the ages of 5 and 15 years must attend school. You should enrol your children in a school as soon as possible.


APPLY FOR A DRIVER’S LICENCE

Another country, in English or with an official translation from an acceptable source, you are allowed to drive for your first 3 months after arrival. After that, if you want to drive, you will need to have the appropriate Australian driver’s licence. This will usually require you to pass a knowledge test, a practical driving test, and an eyesight test. In Australia, driver’s licences are issued by state and territory governments.

If you do not hold a licence from another country you will need to pass a Driver Knowledge Test to get a learner’s permit.

Roads & Maritime 13 22 13
RMS website Click here for RMS website

Please note: There are strict traffic and drink driving laws in Australia, which you must obey. For more information see Chapter 5, Australian customs and law.

Emergency Services

In an emergency, telephone 000 for:

Calls to 000 (triple zero) are free. Be prepared to provide your name, address and telephone number (if you have one), and the type of service you need.

If you cannot speak English, you must firstly tell the operator what kind of help you need (simply say: “Police”, “Ambulance” or “Fire”), and then say your language. You will be connected to the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) directly, so do not hang up. The TIS interpreter will then help the police, fire or ambulance service to obtain your address and other details.


POLICE

In an emergency, telephone 000 and ask for the “Police”.

For non-urgent matters, ring 000 or your local police station. Their numbers are listed under ‘Police stations’ in the White Pages telephone directory. There is no charge for police services.

Police in Australia are not connected to the military forces and do not play a part in politics. They aim to protect life and property in the community, prevent and detect crime, and preserve peace. The police may intervene in family issues where there is a domestic dispute or concern about physical, sexual or psychological abuse.


AMBULANCE

If you need an ambulance, telephone 000 and ask for an “Ambulance”. Ambulances provide emergency transport to hospital and immediate medical attention. Remember, DO NOT HANG UP the telephone if you do not speak English – say your language and an interpreter will assist you with your call.

In some states and territories, the ambulance service may be free or discounted to people who get an Australian Government pension or who have a Health Care Card (given by Centrelink to people assessed as low income earners). It can be expensive if you do not have these benefits, so you may wish to become an ambulance member or join a private health insurance fund that covers the cost. See Chapter 11, The health system.

FIRE

In an emergency, telephone 000 and ask for the “Fire Brigade”. The fire brigade puts out fires, rescues people from burning buildings and also assists in situations where gas or chemicals become a danger. In non-urgent cases, you can use the telephone number listed under ‘Fire brigades’ in the White Pages telephone directory.


OTHER EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Useful emergency telephone numbers are listed at the front of your local White Pages telephone directory. They include:

Poisons Information Centre
(24 Hour Line)
13 1126
Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS)
(24 Hour Freecall Crisis Line)
1800 688 009