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Tips for Living In Australia

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Australia's huge reserve of natural beauty is arguably one of its greatest attractions. The landscape ranges from breathtaking sun baked horizons to dense and colorful tropical rainforests. Known as the “Smallest Continent Of The World”, Australia is a tolerant and inclusive society. All Australians are entitled to five basic freedoms, known as the Fundamental Freedoms. They are:
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of Association
  • Freedom of Assembly
  • Freedom of Religion and
  • Freedom of Movement

It is unlawful to insult, intimidate, offend or humiliate any person or group in public because of its race. For more information, you can consult the racial verification rule. The racial verification rule is one of the strictest in Australia.

Check out some fun facts about Australia below!

Capital : Canberra
Official Language : English (de facto)
Government : Parliamentary monarchy and constitutional democracy.
National Animal : Kangaroo
National Anthem : Advance Australia Fair
Currency : Australian Dollar (AUD).
Internet TLD : .au
Calling Code : +61

 Social Etiquettes

  • The value of universal brotherhood is deeply ingrained and the Australians usually call each other “mate”.
  • Just as social or financial superiority is sniggered at in Australian society, so is accepting charity. Charity is usually considered as a sign of inequality that goes against the spirit of self respect. Modesty is highly appreciated.
  • Women are treated with great respect and there are strict laws that deal with racial and sexual discrimination.
  • Other social and dinner customs and mannerisms are that of British kind and origin.
  • Chocolate, books and blowers are appropriate gifts for hosts when attending a party. Wine, which is produced in plenty in Australia also, also makes a great gift.
  • Australia has a rich beer culture. Beer is bought in rounds--everyone takes a turn buying beer for his mates. Beer should be drunk quickly so that you do not fall behind your peer group. It is considered offensive to let your beer warm.
  • Australians are warm and friendly people who defend their causes. Aggressive and arrogant behavior is not taken in good spirits.
  • Bluntness is a prevalent characteristic in Australians. They are often misinterpreted as rude and undiplomatic, but they are simply high-spirited and highly individualistic.

The Business Etiquette

  • Work generally speaks for itself--stress concerning titles and qualifications is not welcome.
  • Punctuality is respected and bargaining is outdated.
  • Direct and crisp deals are highly esteemed.

Cost of Living

Australia has some of the least expensive cities in the world. Some of the notable cities, which boast quality living and low expenses, are Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. In Western Australia, the cost of living is even cheaper. In 2004, the World Competitiveness Yearbook marked Australia as the third best country worldwide when it comes to low cost of living.

Food and Drinks

  • An average family of four people needs to spend around 500 euros every month for food and drinks.
  • Popular meats in Australia include lamb and beef which is processed and can be acquired locally.
  • Fruits and vegetables are very easy to get.
  • Milk and beef are perhaps the two cheapest available commodities in Australia.
  • Australian wine is also very affordable.
  • Imported products, like cereals, biscuits, beer and imported fish can be slightly more expensive.
  • Australia is widely popular for exporting milk, beef and some  products like kangaroo meat and King Island cheeses.
  • New South Wales offers oysters and Illabo milk-fed lamb; Victoria offers Meredith lamb; South Australia is known for its tuna.
  • Other exotic foods include: crocodile, shark, and ostrich and emu meat. Anything that is locally available is affordable in Australia.

Clothing and Accessories

  • Locally made Australian clothes are cheap, while imported ones are expensive.
  • The citizens equally wear traditional and modern fashion.
  • There are several cheap items available for local accessories, like, bead necklaces, bracelets, wooden earrings and anklets that repsent the nation's aboriginal roots.
  • Victoria is considered the most fashionable place in Australia. Although the locals often prefer casual attire, there are several designers available in major cities.

Housing

  • Australian housing options are quite diverse. From one room apartments to small houses with yard space, to large urban rentals, Australia offers various housing options for its immigrants.
  • Land is in excess when compared with the actual number of residents.
  • Housing in major cities is costlier than small provinces or farmlands.
  • On an average, for a family of four, rent or mortgage is about 400 euros montly.
  • Utilities are also quite easily available and some states provide clean water to the residents for free. A typical family will have a monthy bill of around 100 euros for electricity and water consumption.
  • The most common way for getting a house in Australia is giving an initial deposit and then applying for the house loan.
  • Public housing is offered for lower class citizens.

Health and Education

  • For all residents and immigrants, the Australian government offers National Health Policies.
  • The Health Service is generally subsidized and all medical services, pharmaceuticals, and health institutions receive financial assistance from the government.
  • Almost 10 percent of the country’s total GDP is devoted to the health sector.
  • Australia also puts emphasis on education--every individual up to the age of 17 is ordered to stay in school.
  • The public schools are free with additional allowances provided to the students. The costs are wholly or partly subsidized by the government.
  • Students can also opt for private schools or universities provided that they pay for their tuition once they start earning.

Employment

Currently, Australia is in great need for health care professionals, especially nurses. Other lucrative fields of employment include:
  • information technology
  • accounting
  • education
  • pharmaceutical

Bank Accounts

  • In Australia, your income, wage and governmental benefits are paid into bank accounts. The first thing you should do after your arrival in Australia is open a bank account within six weeks of your arrival.
  • Usually if you open your account within six weeks of your arrival, you will only need your passport as identification. After six weeks, you will be asked for extra documents.
  • Opening a bank account in Australia is a very simple process. You need to complete a “New Account Form” and return it along with the documents required. Generally it takes five working days to process your application.
  • Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter confirming your account number. This account number is your primary means of reference and should be quoted on all correspondence with the bank, and any payment or transaction.
  • Once your account is opened with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, you can take advantage of the foreign exchange rate.

Driving Rules

  • If you hold a valid driver’s license from another country and the license is in English, then you can drive in Australia for up to 12 months.
  • If your license is not in English, then you should carry an International Driving License or an approved translation of your license.
  • If you want to be on the safe side, you should carry a recognized translation of your driver’s license.
  • In some states, the international driving permit is not enough.

Traffic Rules

  • In Australia, residents drive on the left side of the road.
  • Both drivers and passengers must always wear seat belts.
  • Never drive if your blood alcohol level is more than 0.05 percent.
  • The speed limit on highways and country roads is 100km/hr or 110km/hr, unless a lower speed limit sign is posted.
  • Northern Territory is the only territory that does not have a specified speed limit. But for safety reason, it is wise to stick to 110km/hr.
  • The speed limit in residential areas is usually 50km/hr to 60km/hr.
  • You should also give way to T-intersections.
  • Go around roundabouts clockwise.

Driving License

  • Australian driving licenses are generally given at state or territory level. As a result, the regulations vary.
  • A state driving license is generally obtained within three months of taking residence in the state.
  • You need to sit for a practical test unless you:
    1. Have a New Zealand driving license
    2. Currently hold an overseas license but previously had an Australian driving license.
    3. You hold a current license issued by an overseas country that includes EU nations, like Canada, USA and Japan and those countries whose system of issuing driving licenses is similar to that of Australia.
  • In New South Wales, often abbreviated as NSW, the most populous state in Australia, the driving license test is a computer based theory test. This theory test can be practiced online and if you fail, it, you can try again. The cost for each attempt is 30 AUD.
  • Under NSW regulation, you can also keep your overseas driving license once you get your NSW driving license, but it will be endorsed so that it is no longer valid in the state.
  • To get a NSW driving license, you need to prove your residential address in the state. Any official letter with the address will work.
  • Those who have a temporary visa in NSW can keep using their overseas license for no longer than three months. If they wish they can get a NSW driving license but they need to go through the test.
  • In Australia you need to carry your driving license at all times.

Education

  • Australia is regarded highly throughout the world for its education. In fact, many of the Australian universities are compared with US or UK universities as far as the standard of education is concerned.
  • Australia has a certain compulsory stages of schooling--a child has to start his or her primary education at the age of five. Depending on the term's time, some children start it as early as four, while some others may start as late as six.
  • Primary school is generally followed by secondary school, but some states and territories have middle school and then a secondary school.
  • Between the ages of 15 to 17, students graduate and go for their tertiary education, like university, technical and further education colleges known as TAFE.
  • It is important for parents to know that the government department of Education, Science and Training governs the Australian Qualifications Framework. This is the ultimate framework on which all school leaving certificates are based.
  • Once you have decided in which state and area you are going to live, you can contact the local education board and see in which schools your child is eligible.

Healthcare

  • As one of the most advanced nations in the world, Australia has a very well developed healthcare system. If you are a citizen from the UK and visiting Australia, you can get many advantages--the UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. There is a publicly funded healthcare scheme where people from countries with which Australia has a reciprocal agreement can get free medical treatment.
  • The Australian government funds almost 70 percent of health related costs in Australia. With a population of over 20, million citizens, the Australian government supports a healthy life expectancy with an average of 77.7 years for males and 83.6 years or females (statistics from CIA World Factbook 2007).
  • However, the waiting time for non-emergency surgeries are very long. It is also difficult to get a specialist appointment unless you have private health insurance.
  • As soon as you start working in Australia, you immediately begin to pay for public healthcare through your income tax. Medicare is a supplement to the basic public healthcare and subsidizes medicine bought from the pharmacy .

Private Healthcare

Amother way to get healthcare in Australia is through a private medical insurance policy.

The advantages of having a basic level of private health insurance in Australia include:
  • You don’t need to wait to be seen by doctors.
  • You can get private rooms if you need to be hospitalized.
  • When it comes to treatment, you will have priority.
  • No matter if you are a citizen of Australia or not, you receive excellent basic emergency medical care.

Author :

on May 27, 2015

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