- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
Bushfires are burning across Australia and pose a significant risk, creating smoky conditions that may continue for some time. Smoke can affect people’s health and Irish citizens are urged to take steps to reduce unnecessary exposure. Irish citizens in Australia are advised to check the air quality in your region https://www.airvisual.com/. We would recommend that anyone with underlying medical conditions consult with their GP in advance of travelling.
All Irish citizens living in or visiting Australia are advised to heed the current bushfire warnings.
The New South Wales Government has declared a state of emergency from Friday, 03 January to Friday, 10 January, as New South Wales braces for very dangerous fire conditions on Saturday 04 January.
Places that the Emergency Services in New South Wales have issued an Evacuate Now order for can be found here
Residents in areas of risk are advised to move to larger towns, shopping centres or facilities and to keep away from bushland areas. More information, updates and advice are available on the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and Twitter (@NSWRFS) or Queensland Fire & Emergency Services. In the event of emergency, always dial Triple Zero (000).
The New South Wales’ Department of Health has information on the health risks, especially for those with underlying conditions, associated with the smoke from bushfires.
The State of Victoria has declared a State of Disaster.
Places that the Emergency Services in Victoria have issued an Evacuate Now order for can be found here
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advise Irish citizens to comply with the evacuation now instructions from the Australian authorities.
The Australian Capital Territory Government has declared state of alert and Irish citizens living in the ACT are advised to check out the latest information on Australian Capital Territory Fire and Rescue
All Irish citizens living in Australia are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities and to keep informed of the latest developments.
There is currently an Emergency Warning for a bushfire in Flinders Chase Park on Kangaroo Island
Additional information can be found in the following links
The Embassy advises those planning to travel to Australia to make contact with their accommodation and transport providers to seek information about current conditions and to follow the advice of local authorities.
Irish citizens living in Australia are encouraged to register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/
In addition we encourage citizens to download the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Travel Wise App which helps Irish citizens to stay safe and informed while travelling: https://www.dfa.ie/travelwise/
Reciprocal Health Agreement
Our tips for safe travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there is an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
- Follow the Embassy of Ireland twitter page, @irlembaustralia, and the Embassy of Ireland Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IrishEmbassyAustralia/
- Follow the Consulate General of Sydney twitter page, @IrelandSydney and the Consulate Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SydneyIrishConsulate/
- Irish citizens travelling abroad are encouraged to register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The Australian government terrorism public alert level is at ‘probable’ as of April 2016. There is an underlying threat of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
- Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- You do not legally have to carry your passport with your at all time in Australia so leave it in a safe place unless absolutely necessary to avoid loss, theft or damage. Leave a copy of the biography page (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Always get local advice about safe places to socialise. If you are staying in cheap accommodation, be aware that the good value may be due to an undesirable location. Be careful in certain ‘party’ areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and take sensible precautions.
- If you are arrested or detained, you are entitled to request that the local police notify the Embassy or Consulate General of your detention.
Lost or stolen passport
If your passport is lost or stolen while in Australia, the Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney or the Honorary Consulate in Perth can, in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You will need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required, including an original or certified long-form birth certificate in all cases.
If you're a victim of a crime while in Australia, you should report it to the local police immediately. If you need consular assistance, contact us at the Embassy or Consulate. Victim Support Australia also has numbers of local helplines listed by state.
Reporting sexual assault
In the event of sexual assault, the Australian Police have specialised sexual assault teams, and many hospitals have dedicated sexual assault units. There’s also a national 24-hour telephone counselling service for cases of sexual assault and domestic violence – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
- Traffic drives on the left.
- Bring your full Irish driving license and carry it with you – this is compulsory for all drivers in Australia
- Make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance on your vehicle, especially if it’s borrowed. Some ‘open’ Australian insurance policies carry age restrictions and may cover only certain drivers
- Be aware of Australia’s traffic laws, such as speed limits, which are generally lower than in Ireland; and street parking, which is strictly regulated. These laws are strictly enforced and hefty on-the-spot fines are applied
- Check road conditions before beginning your journey; stay with your vehicle if it breaks down; and avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions. Sudden storms and strong winds can make driving difficult.
- Random breath testing of a driver’s blood alcohol and drug level is a common occurrence.
Driver fatigue is a major cause of death on Australian roads. Always carry water and take rest breaks every two hours while driving long distances.
It’s also important to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle before travelling long distances in remote areas. Petrol stations could be few and far between and you may need to carry an additional petrol supply.
Watch out for signs warning of local wildlife, which may be present on the roads and can cause serious injury in a collision. Be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk when animals such as kangaroos are on the move.
In rural areas, roads may be unsealed and impassable after heavy rain. It’s a mistake to rely solely on GPS to plan itineraries.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged). If you’re planning to drive on unsealed roads it’s essential that your hire car insurance policy has adequate cover.
The Australian surf can be dangerous, with strong rip currents challenging even the most experienced swimmer. You should only swim on beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the flags. The position of the flags highlights the safest part of the beach to swim. These are generally moved daily to take account of rip currents or other hazards.
However tempting a remote and unsupervised beach may appear, there may be a very good reason for the absence of other bathers. As well as rip currents, some areas may present risk of stings or bites from local marine life, up to and including shark attacks. Always check the signs and pay attention to local information.
Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, and avoid swimming alone.
Safety in the Outback
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
The police in Australia are strict in their implementation of the law and you should not expect any flexibility in respect of speed limits, parking restrictions or public order regulations.
What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.
Disrespectful language or physical contact, especially from people under the influence of alcohol, is not tolerated.
- Think carefully about challenging the deportation. The 28 days doesn't start until consent to deportation is given.
- If you agree to the deportation you should sign the paperwork immediately to begin the 28 days.
- Delays can arise, particularly for the following reasons: health issues that prevent air travel, lack of travel documents, delay getting airlines to accept the deportee, outstanding criminal matters
- If you have been involved in a crime, you should be fully open with the Australian Border Force regarding outstanding criminal matters. The Border Force will most likely uncover any unresolved criminal matters. If an unresolved criminal matter is discovered the 28 day period may no longer apply and deportation could take significantly longer.
- Similarly if you have any outstanding debts or fines you may have to pay these before deportation can be finalised.
- If you are being deported following a prison sentence, you should note that it is likely you will spend some time in immigration detention on your release from prison. It is not general practice for former prisoners to be deported straight from jail.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
- The Australian climate can be extreme. Drought in one part can be paralleled by severe flooding in another. The north of the country gets a wet and a dry season, and much of the centre of the country is desert or semi-arid. While the climate is generally temperate in the south-east and south-west corners, even here the summer heat can be intense.
- The weather between different cities may vary widely at certain times of the year. If you are planning on travelling around Australia, it is important to stay aware of the weather in each place you intend to stay. Up to date weather forecasts for all areas are available at the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
- There is a wider risk of tropical cyclones which occur mainly in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia between November and April. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of local authorities, including the state emergency services and Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
The sunburn index is very high in Australia during both summer and winter months and the country has a high rate of skin cancer. High factor sun protection should be reapplied frequently and we highly recommend wearing a hat.
Due to the dry conditions in many parts of Australia, it is important to be alert to the possibility of bush fires. If there is a fire in your area keep tuned to local radio for updates or download the ‘Fires Near Me Australia’ app. Know what to look out for and observe total fire ban warnings where they are in place. Find out what bushfire safety plans are in place in the area where you are camping, caravanning or renting accommodation. If a bushfire breaks out, do not wait and see. It is extremely dangerous to leave after there are signs of fire in your area. Bush fires have devastating effects and there are heavy penalties applied for breach of the rules.
During times of minimal rainfall, usually from October to April, intense bushfires can occur. Follow the advice of local authorities, and avoid affected or susceptible areas.
Consult the website of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for information on weather conditions.
Depending on the season, flash flooding can occur in many areas. Floods in recent years have led to loss of life and cut off whole towns and communities so pay attention to local warnings. It’s dangerous to try to cross swollen creeks or other flood waters; their power and depth may be deceptive.
Some unsealed roads (common in rural areas) may not be passable after heavy rain even if you’re travelling in a 4 x 4 vehicle. It’s important not to rely solely on GPS when planning a route. Local advice is usually available and should be sought out and heeded.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
You will need a visa in advance to enter Australia. You have to be pre-cleared and issued with an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Travel agents, the nearest Australian Embassy or the Australian Immigration website can provide further details.
Always respect the terms of your visa. It’s an offence to overstay a visa and to do so will likely incur a sanction, which can include up to a three-year ban on entering the country.
Immigration law is very strictly enforced – don’t be under any illusion on this point.
Always get comprehensive travel insurance. See the overview section of this travel advice for more information on the Reciprocal Health Agreement for emergency care only.
Visitors to northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia may be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Ross River fever. Take suitable precautions and use insect repellents and sleeping nets.
There have been reports of cases of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE), a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, in the Northern Territory and north Western Australia, with occasional cases in Queensland, central Australia and the central regions of Western Australia.
Moving to Australia for an extended period
If you’re thinking about moving to Australia for an extended period as a family unit, the most important thing is to fully research the visa class you intend to travel on. Get a clear and accurate picture of what entitlements will or will not apply for you and your family.
Take the time to research the state and city where you plan to relocate. Find out about issues such as childcare and school fees before you arrive.
Further information is also available from the Irish community support associations.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Australia is high. Good accommodation in the major cities can be difficult to find and is very expensive by Irish standards. This applies in particular to Sydney and Melbourne, where there is a significant shortage of suitable accommodation, with rental prices reflecting the high demand.
There may be long waiting lists for schools and child care in certain areas and you may have to apply for places before you leave Ireland. Take note that the Australian school year begins in end January/February not in September as is the case at home.
In some states, notably New South Wales and Western Australia, temporary residents may have to pay significant fees for public primary schools and they may not be entitled to benefit from Australian tax rebates for child care expenses.
Emergency hospital treatment for Irish people legally resident in Australia is covered by the Reciprocal Health Agreement between the two countries. This doesn’t cover the cost of ambulances and follow-up care. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to Medicare (Australian public health rebate system) and as such may have to pay in full for childhood vaccinations and other medical bills. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to social welfare (Centrelink) payments. The system is structured differently in Australia so you may not be entitled to any child benefit payments and even if you were entitled to a medical card at home you will be required to pay for medical appointments and related services in Australia.
If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +61 2 62140000 and follow the prompts.
If you call outside normal working hours at the weekend, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.
Embassy of Ireland
20 Arkana Street
Tel: +61 2 6214 0000
Monday to Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm and 2pm – 4pm
Consulate General of Ireland
1 Market Street
Tel: +612 9264 9635
Monday to Friday 10.00 - 13.00
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr Martin Kavanagh
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Kavanagh Lawyers WA
165/580 Hay Street
Perth Western Australia 6004
Tel: +61 8 6557 5802
Email: Email us
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.