Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, has a population of around two million people. It is cosmopolitan enough to offer all the variety and excitement an international student might need and yet intimate enough for the city to maintain its famously relaxed and friendly character.
Equality and Anti-Discrimination
You have the right to be respected and to have your needs considered as fairly as everyone else. Similarly you should respect other people, whether they were born in Australia or, like you, from overseas.Under the Anti-Discrimination Act, no person should be treated worse than others because of age, race, country of origin, marital status, pregnancy, political or religious beliefs, disability or sexual preference. Men and women are equal under the law and for all other purposes.Australia has a tradition of free speech. However, it is unlawful to insult, humiliate, offend or intimidate another person or group.
Crime is usually described as any behaviour or act that is against the law and may result in punishment. Everyone in Australia is expected to obey all Australian laws.
Violence towards other people is illegal in Australia and viewed very seriously. This includes violence within the home and within marriage. Domestic violence is behaviour by a person which may result in the victim experiencing or fearing physical, sexual or psychological abuse and damage, forced sexual relations, forced isolation or economic deprivation.Women’s Information Services (08) 6217 8230 (24 Hour Line) / 1800 199 174 (free)
Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline 1800 007339 (free) or 9223 1188
To drive a car in Australia you must have a driver’s licence and the vehicle you are driving must be registered with the government.If you are in Perth on a temporary visa, you can drive on your overseas licence (provided it is a current, valid licence) for an indefinite period provided your overseas licence is in English (or you have an English translation), or you have an International Driving Permit.
If you are in Perth on a permanent visa, you can drive on your overseas licence for only three months from the date you entered Australia or from the time a permanent visa was issued to you. If you want to continue to drive in Perth after that time you must apply for a Western Australia drivers licence.
For more information relating to licences please contact Transport Perth 13 11 56 or www.transport.wa.gov.au
Disobeying or breaking traffic laws can result in large fines, the loss of your driver’s licence or even imprisonment. There are seatbelts in all cars for adults and older children. You will require government approved restraints for young children and babies.
If you are involved in a road accident you must report it immediately to the police. International students should also ensure that their insurance policy covers them in the event of an accident.
The laws are particularly strict regarding speed limits and driving after drinking alcohol (including riding a bicycle). In Perth ,your blood alcohol level needs to be less than 0.05% and police have authority to submit anyone driving to a random breath analysis test. It is also illegal to drink while driving. Certain drivers are required to abide by a zero tolerance law, meaning that no alcohol can be consumed if the person intends to drive. It is also an offence to drive under the influence of illegal drugs.
It is also useful to know that it is against the law to use your mobile phone while driving unless you have a “hands free kit”.
Drugs, Smoking and Drinking
There are many laws about having possession of and/or using drugs. Breaking drug laws can lead to severe penalties.
Smoking tobacco is prohibited in a growing number of places in Australia, including most government offices, health clinics and workplaces. Smoking in restaurants and shopping centres is also prohibited in Perth. Non-smoking areas are often indicated with signage.
Drinking alcohol in public is legal in Australia apart from in in certain places at certain times. It is against the law for any person to sell or supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years. It is also against the law for a minor to drink alcohol except on private property such as a home.
For further information:
A clean environment and the protection of nature is important to Australians. It is illegal to litter, create pollution or dispose of waste without permission. Native animals, shellfish and plants are protected by law. In addition there are special rules which apply to National Parks to prevent them from being spoilt.
Environment Protection Authority: www.epa.wa.gov.au
There are laws that protect Australians from excessive noise. The regulations vary from state to state but in general neighbours are tolerant of the occasional noise, but if frequent or excessively loud, complaints can be lodged with the local council or the police.
Australia has laws to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. It is forbidden to kill animals in the backyard. People who mistreat animals and birds can be fined or imprisoned. There are local laws on what animals can be kept at home and you should consult your local council regarding registering them.
Australians usually say “please” when asking for something or for a service and usually say “thank you” when someone helps them or gives them something. Not saying this could be seen as impolite.Australians usually say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention and “sorry” when they accidentally bump into someone. Australians also say “excuse me” or “pardon me” when they burp or belch in public or in someone’s home.
You should always try to be on time for meetings and other appointments. If you realise you are going to be late, try to contact the person and let them know. This is very important for professional appointments as you could be charged money for being late or if you miss the appointment without letting the person know in advance.
Most Australians blow their nose into handkerchiefs or tissues, not onto the pavement. This is also true for spitting. Many people will also say “bless you” when you sneeze – this phrase has no religious intent.
It is also important to know that some behaviour is not only impolite but also against the law. Examples include swearing in public, pushing in line, urinating or defecating anywhere except in a public toilet or private toilet.
Note: All prices below are in Australian dollars. Figures are adapted from www.numbeo.com (correct at time of print).
Sample Weekly Budget
Rent – shared accommodation (average): $150
Gas/water/electricity/phone (landline): $50
Public transport: $40
Clothing and entertainment: $50–$100
Note: Students holding temporary visas may be required to pay full school fees. Check with individual schools for details.
Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS)
The Australian Government wants overseas students in Australia to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place to study. Australia’s laws promote quality education and consumer protection for overseas students. These laws are known as the ESOS Framework and they include the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS) and the National Code.
The ESOS Act and associated legislation protects the interests of overseas students by providing tuition and financial assurance. To find out more about the ESOS framework and how it protects your rights click here to visit the ESOS section of the Department of Education website. https://internationaleducation.gov.au/RegulatoryInformation/Pages/Regulatoryinformation.aspx
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.
In an emergency, telephone 000 and ask for the “Police”. For non-urgent matters, ring your local police station.
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.
If you need an ambulance, telephone 000 and ask for an “Ambulance”. Ambulances provide emergency transport to hospital and immediate medical attention.
In Western Australia the Ambulance is not a free service. Your OSHC will cover your ambulance cost only when it is required medically for admission to hospital or for emergency treatment.
To be fully covered for ambulance costs, it is advised that you ensure your health cover includes cost for the service of an ambulance.
Collect a membership application form at Australia Post or contact: Ambulance Membership on 1800 648 484.
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.
Telephone Crisis Counselling
There are various telephone counselling services including Lifeline which offer free crisis counselling 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Alcohol & Drugs: 9442 5000
Centre Against Sexual Assault: 9340 1828
Gambler’s Help: 1800 622 112
Samaritans Crisis Line: 9381 5555
Lifeline: 131 114
Child Protection: 9340 8222
Family Help Line: 9223 1111
Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 007339 (free) or 9223 1188
Victims of Crime Helpline: 1800 818 988 (free) or 9425 2850
Mental Health Emergency Response Line: 9224 8888
Men’s Referral Service: 9428 2899
Parent Line: 6279 1200
Quitline: 137 848
Poisons Information Centre: 131 126
Maternal and Child Health Line: 1800 55 1800
Emergency Medical and Hospital Services
Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital 3056 Albany Highway, Mount Nasura Phone: 9391 2000
Fremantle Hospital South Terrace, Fremantle Phone: 9431 3333
Joondalup Health Campus Shenton Avenue, Joondalup Phone: 9400 9400
Midland Hospital – St. John of God 1 Clayton Street, Midland Phone: 9462 4000
Peel Health Campus 110 Lakes Road, Mandurah Phone: 9531 8000
Perth Children’s Hospital – 15 Hospital Ave, Nedlands Phone: (08) 6456 2222
Rockingham General Hospital Elanora Drive, Cooloongup Phone: 9599 4000
Royal Perth Hospital 197 Wellington Street, Perth Phone: 9224 2244
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Hospital Avenue, Nedlands Phone: 9346 3333
Dependent family members must not start work until the primary visa holder has commenced the course in Australia. Dependent family members can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree, and holds a subclass 500 (VET, Higher education, Postgraduate or AusAID/Defence sector) student visa. In this case there is no limit on the number of hours a dependent family member may work.
Tax File Numbers
If you intend to work in Australia while you are studying you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). These numbers are issued by the Australian Taxation Office and are used to identify your tax records.
You need to keep your Tax File Number secure and do not tell people other than for employment and banking needs.
The Australian Taxation Office, in conjunction with Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have developed an online registration process for temporary visitors to apply via the internet. Online applications can be completed at www.ato.gov.au. All student visas are now granted with work rights.
When you start work, your employer will ask you to complete a TFN Declaration Form on which you need to write down your TFN. If you do not already have your TFN, the employer is not allowed to take out more than the normal amount of tax until the standard TFN processing time has elapsed.
If you earn any income in a financial year (between 1 July and 30 June), you must lodge an Income Tax Return by 31 October of that year, unless other arrangements have been made.
Most jobs and working conditions are covered by Modern or State Awards. Awards are legally binding on the employer and cover such working conditions as minimum rates of pay, allowances, overtime, penalty rates, hours of work, and leave for holidays, long service or sickness.
All new employees receive a Fair Work statement from their employer informing them or their rights as an employee. This statement provides a safety net for the employee covered by the national workplace relations system. You should familiarise yourself with this document so that you know your rights as an employee in Australia.
Additional support services are available to discuss and provide assistance in all areas of students’ welfare including their accommodation needs and health cover. Students with visa enquiries will be directed to the Department of Education and the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol (DIBP).
The Student Council is available to provide support to AIWT students. Council members meet regularly to discuss improvements to the student learning experience including planning of AIWT events and activities that will make students feel right at home.
These requirements are intended as a guide only and may vary from country to country. For applicants from some countries a preliminary, pre-visa assessment may be required by the Australian Diplomatic Mission or Consulate in your country.
AIWT is obliged to report to the Australian Government (DIPB) any student who has unsatisfactory classroom attendance, unsatisfactory course progress or non payment of fees. Such students may be asked by the Government to leave the country.
RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning or competency)
Students from most countries may apply for an extension within Australia, if required.