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Health and safety in Australia

Australia is a particularly healthy country in which to travel, study and live.

Health services in Australia are high quality. Australia is comparatively safe and has a low crime rate. In most places, streets are clean, open and well-lit at night. The incidence of robbery and assault in Australia is relatively low, and Australia has strict anti-gun and anti-drug laws. As in any country, you must exercise caution and larger cities have some dangerous areas.

Insurance is required

As an international student, it is a condition of your student visa that you maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your stay.

OSHC covers some medical services (see your policy for specific details). Your OSHC must be arranged before departure for Australia and covers you from the moment you arrive. You will need to pick up your OSHC card from your health care provider (e.g. Medibank Private, Worldcare Assist or BUPA OSHC). Ask your institution’s International Student Office for assistance.

Australia’s health care system

Most large university campuses have an on-campus medical centre with quality doctors. All other campuses have at least a trained first aid officer and rooms for sick or injured students waiting for a doctor to arrive in emergencies.

There are medical centres and hospitals throughout all cities and towns, including many in suburban areas. There are 24 hour emergency centres at hospitals and in some suburbs.

Patients can request to see a male or female doctor.

It may be possible to find a doctor who speaks your native language. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection offers free interpreting services by telephone to help patients whose English skills are not strong.

Australia’s health care system is divided into ‘public’ and ‘private’. Public patients rely on the government’s national health insurance, Medicare. The public health system is high quality nationally so patients should not be concerned that services may be inferior.

Private patients pay annual fees for tailored health cover. Private hospitals run on a commercial basis.

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