Another procedure that expatriates have found very helpful is opening up an Australian bank account before arriving in the country. This helps to further minimise the bank fees involved with the transferral of money. Several different banks offer application forms that can be filled out online - Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB all provide an online sign-up service.
Australia is subject to International Driving regulations – which mean that if you hold an International Drivers Permit or license, then you are allowed to continue driving in Australia without further tests or applications, provided that a current drivers license is still held. More can be found out about International Driving Permits from The National Roads & Motorists’ Association website.
If you do not hold an International Drivers Permit but have a valid overseas or interstate license then you are allowed to drive in the ACT for a maximum of three months before getting a local license.
To apply for an ACT drivers license you must present your passport, visa documentation and current drivers licence. Drivers from a list of approved countries will need to pass a written test and undergo an eyesight test. Those from non-approved countries will also be required to sit a practical driving test.
It is strongly recommended that you apply for an ACT Drivers Licence as soon as possible. This will help you avoid difficulties in regards to insurance claims should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor vehicle accident and to better facilitate obtaining car insurance.
In Australia, drivers use the left-hand side of the road – and all cars are right-hand drive. Speed limits in suburban areas are typically 50km/h or 60km/h and 100km/h on highways or freeways.
Public transport in Canberra is of a very high level, and ‘Action’ buses provide the main source of public transport to many local residents. A comprehensive train network called CityLink transports people around Canberra’s different regions, and even travels daily between Canberra and Sydney.
For more information on public transport in Canberra, please visit www.transport.act.gov.au
As in many cities across Australia, education is of a high standard in Canberra. Both public and private schools are available throughout the region, however 40 per cent of Canberra school students are enrolled in the private education system, this is the highest percentage of privately educated students in the country.
Canberra also has the highest school retention rate in the country. This is due to the local colleges offering a wide range of academic and vocational courses. One of the main tertiary institutions in the area is the Australian National University, which ranks among the leading universities in the world, and the best in Australia.
Schools typically run on a four-term schedule: Term 1 typically goes from late January through mid-April, Term 2 from late April to early July, Term 3 from mid/late-July to late September and Term 4 from mid-October through mid-December.
When it comes time to choose a school for your children, most expatriate families choose a school based on location and proximity to their home. For secondary school aged students, expats can choose between well-regarded independent schools or public schools. Please contact Crown Canberra for assistance with selecting a school.
Transport available to school students will vary depending on the location of the school and home. Independent schools most often run their own bus systems. Most teenage children use the public bus and train services to get back and forth.
Crown are able to arrange an appointment with a consultant to provide an in-depth explanation of the local education systems if required.
Like all other areas across Australia, Medicare provides Canberra residents’ with public health services. Medicare is a government health insurance scheme, that pays for hospital visits and costs as well as doctors appointments.
Medicare is available for permanent residents or Australian citizens, NOT for temporary residents. However, New Zealand citizens living in Australia do automatically qualify for enrolment to Medicare. They are also entitled to free emergency hospital care. However if they are not enrolled in Medicare they are generally charged with the full cost of doctor visits.
Even with Medicare services available, 50% of Australians still take out private health insurance. This is because private health insurance covers the cost of ambulance use in emergencies and dental care, which Medicare does not.
If the insurance company you were with in your home country is a member of the International Federation of Health Funds, you may be able to transfer your policy to Australia without penalty at a similar level of cover. Check with your insurance provider for details.
Canberra is divided in to four ‘town centres’; Woden, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin and Belconnen. Because of its roots as a planned city, Canberra’s residential areas are very spaced out, and commute times are shortened by an excellent roading system.
However, proximity to schools and workplaces are still the deciding factors for expatriates when choosing a place to live in Canberra.
Most expatriates choose to rent rather than buy their homes in Canberra, this is because the high rates put in place by the ACT government when it comes to purchasing a home.
Canberra has one of the tightest rental markets in the country, with approximately two percent rental vacancy available at any given time. Due to this, it’s advised to look for rental properties long before you arrive.
When organising a property to rent, landlords typically ask for four to six weeks rent in advance before the collection of keys. There is also a security deposit or bond to be paid before moving in.
For information about rental properties available around the Canberra area, visit www.domain.com.au
The electric current for Australia is 230/250 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 50 cycles per second, which is compatible with UK appliances. Standard plugs have three flat pins (Australian pattern) and lamp fittings are of the bayonet type. Television and video communications operate on PAL color, System B.
It’s common for migrants to assimilate easily into the wider local community given the relaxed atmosphere of Canberra. They most often find close-knit communities through their children’s school and corresponding sports or fundraising type events.
Canberra’s pub and nightlife scene provides many opportunities to meet new people and experience the local community culture. Parks and gardens throughout the city make for great potential hangout spots and places to take the family.
There are also several reputable singles networking services in the local area, who arrange events with other locals wanting to meet new people.
Crown Relocations has 50 years of experience moving individuals and families to Canberra and throughout Australia, contact us today for more information about our services.
To arrange a quotation call our office Free on 0508 227 696, get an online Ballpark estimate, complete our Home Visit Request, get a Full Quote or Email us now.