Health and Safety

Australia is known for being a safe and welcoming destination for international students, with a reputation for consistently ranking among the world’s safest countries. However, it is always important to take care of yourself and be aware of potential risks, especially when you are new to the country. This means taking measures to ensure your personal safety, home safety, and responding appropriately in emergency situations. It also involves taking precautions against natural elements like the sun, water, and fire. By using your common sense and following best practices, you can help ensure a safe and healthy study experience in Australia.


Australia has a comprehensive and well-equipped emergency services network to provide assistance to those in need. It is important for international students to familiarize themselves with Australia’s fire, ambulance, and police services to be well-prepared in case of an emergency. Knowing how to access these services can provide peace of mind and help ensure that you receive the necessary help in a timely manner.

Australia has a well-established network of assistance and emergency services to support international students in times of need. Fire, ambulance, and police services are available across the country to provide you with any necessary health and safety assistance. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, simply dial 000 (zero zero zero) from any phone, and an operator will assist you by directing you to the appropriate service, whether it be police, fire, or ambulance. If you’re unsure which service you need, the operator can assist you in making that determination.

It’s important to remain calm when calling for emergency assistance, and be prepared to provide information such as your location, the nature of the emergency, and the number of people involved. Examples of situations that may require calling 000 include serious injuries or urgent medical attention, threats to your safety or property, or witnessing a serious accident or crime.

Most educational institutions have their own on-campus security personnel who can be contacted easily. You can find their contact details in your enrolment information, or contact your institution’s international student support staff to obtain their phone number or office location. Even if you are on campus, if it is a life-threatening emergency, you should still call 000 for immediate assistance.


Transport and personal safety

Public transport

Public transport in Australia is a reliable and popular means of transportation, particularly in metropolitan and urban areas. To maximize the safety of public transport users, a number of security measures have been put in place, such as security officers and guards, help points, good lighting, and security cameras. However, it is still important to exercise caution while travelling on public transport. Here are some tips to stay safe:

Avoid isolated bus, rail and tram stops.
Check transport timetables to avoid long waits, especially at night.
Train carriages closest to the driver or guard are well-lit and safest at night.
If you are alone or with only one other person in a train carriage, you may feel more comfortable moving to another carriage.

For more detailed information on public transport safety, please visit the Victoria Police website.

Road safety

Australia’s roads are generally well-maintained and well-signposted in city and urban areas. However, since roads are shared by various modes of transport, such as cars, bikes, heavy vehicles, light rail, and pedestrians, it is crucial for international students to be aware of road safety.

As a road user, international students in Australia should keep the following in mind:

  • Australians drive on the left side of the road.
  • Wearing seat belts is mandatory in all private vehicles, including taxis and ride-share services.
  • The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.05, and drunk driving is strictly prohibited.
  • Using mobile phones while driving is also prohibited in all states and territories.
  • Cyclists are required by law to wear helmets.
  • It is safer to exit a vehicle on the kerb side and check for cyclists and pedestrians before opening the door.
  • Bicycle and scooter use has become more prevalent, particularly in inner-city areas where many students live and study. Using bicycle lanes, observing road rules, and ensuring bikes are well-lit at night are all essential for road safety.

For more information about safe driving in Australia and road safety tips, please visit the Tourism Australia website.

Uber and Taxis

Some guidelines for using taxis in Australia:


  • Choose where you feel most comfortable to sit, either in the front or the back of the taxi.
  • Always know the address of your destination before entering the taxi.
  • Instruct the driver on the route you prefer to take to your destination. If the driver takes a different route, especially if it’s unfamiliar to you, do not hesitate to speak up.
  • If you don’t want to disclose your exact residential location to the driver, request to be dropped off at a nearby location.

Going out

Consider these tips when you’re out with friends or alone:

  • Always plan your trip home, especially at night. You may want to pre-book a taxi or arrange transportation with a friend. Make sure you have enough money to cover the fare.
  • Try to travel with a friend or in a group for added safety.
  • Keep your belongings close to your body and in sight at all times.
  • Never hitchhike, and if you don’t have a phone, ensure you have a phone card or money to make a call.
  • Use pedestrian walkways and cross the street only at designated pedestrian crossings or lights.
  • Leave valuables at home, including jewellry, electronics such as iPads, and your passport. If you don’t have a permanent residence yet, inquire with your institution’s international student support staff about secure storage options.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. ATMs are readily available in shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, shopping malls, and other public locations.

In the event of an emergency, dial 000. Keep in mind that calls to 000 are free of charge.

At school or on campus

Here are some tips for staying safe while at your institution, whether it’s during the day or at night:


  • Familiarise yourself with the security and emergency procedures in place at your institution and in your local area. This information should be provided to you either in your orientation materials or upon arrival.
  • If you attend a large institution, check to see if they offer security escort or shuttle services for students during off-hours. You can contact your institution directly to find out.
  • If you drive to your institution, park in a well-lit area that is close to your destination.
  • When leaving your institution after dark, try to walk with a friend or group. Stick to well-lit paths that are frequently used by other people.

Internet use

International students often rely heavily on their computers and mobile phones to stay connected with family and friends back home, and to navigate their new lives in Australia. However, being online also carries risks, and it is important for all students to take steps to protect themselves.

Australia is a world leader in identifying and responding to online abuse, with the eSafety Commissioner website dedicated to protecting students and children online.

When using the internet, it’s important to protect yourself against spam, online scams such as phishing, cyberbullying, and identity theft. Resources and information about protecting yourself online and reporting abuse can be found at Many Australian internet service providers also offer guidance, so check their websites for additional information.

Outdoor safety

Sun safety

Some tips for protecting your skin from the strong Australian sun:

  • The Australian sun can be stronger than what you are used to in your home country, so it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid sunburn and other skin damage.
  • Before going outdoors, check the UV index to determine the level of sun protection you need. You can download the SunSmart app to help you with this.
  • Apply a water-resistant sunscreen with SPF50+ at least 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply it after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses with UV protection to shield your face and eyes.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure between 10am and 4pm when the sun is at its strongest.

Remember that even on cloudy or overcast days, UV rays can still penetrate the skin, so it’s important to follow these tips every day.

Water safety

Australia is known for its stunning beaches, but it is crucial to prioritise safety when swimming in the water. To avoid any mishaps, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always be cautious of water depth before diving in.
  • Stick to swimming at patrolled beaches, where lifeguards are present. Remember to swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark safe zones closely watched by the lifeguards.
  • Be aware of ‘rips’ – strong underwater currents that can be difficult to detect but can quickly drag you away from the shore. Avoid getting caught in rips by staying between the flags. If you do find yourself caught in a rip, try to stay calm and avoid swimming against it. Hold on to a floating device if you have one, and swim parallel to the beach to exit the rip zone or signal for help from a lifeguard or other swimmers and surfers.
  • If you notice someone signaling for assistance, locate a lifeguard or a nearby surfer.

In case of emergency, call triple-zero (000) for immediate help.

For more information on water safety visit the Surf Life Saving website.

Fire safety

Being aware of fire safety is crucial in Australia, including in urban and city areas. In case of a fire emergency, take the following actions:


  • Dial 000 from any phone or mobile – this is a free call, even from a mobile phone.
  • Inform the operator that there is a fire.
  • Not fluent in English? Let the operator know your language and wait for instructions.
  • Answer the operator’s questions.

Fire prevention tips

To ensure fire safety in your home, consider these precautions:

  • Install a functional smoke alarm in your house or room.
  • Be mindful of electrical devices, particularly in older buildings, and avoid overloading powerboards or double adaptors.
  • Keep electric heaters and radiators at least one meter away from flammable materials such as furniture, bedding, and curtains.
  • Always turn off all kitchen appliances when finished cooking. The majority of household fires occur in the kitchen, often due to unattended grease or oil left on the stove.
  • Avoid outdoor open fires, including campfires, on days of total fire ban.

What action to take if there is a fire

It is important to plan ahead for a potential fire emergency in your home. Take the following steps:


  1. Plan a way to escape from your home in advance, and make sure all members of the household are aware of it.
  2. Ensure doorways and windows are not blocked, and test that windows can be easily opened, especially in older buildings.
  3. Designate a specific spot for your keys and phone, so you can quickly access them in case of an emergency and call for help.


Australia has a vast expanse of land and international students often come here to experience its great outdoors. Whether you are studying in the city or in the country, there are always opportunities for bushwalking, camping, and beach activities nearby.

During the months of October to March, certain parts of Australia may experience extreme heat and bushfires. This can be a scary experience for those who are unfamiliar with such conditions.

If you are out in the bush and notice smoke or a fire, it is important not to ignore the danger. Act quickly and make a decision. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision in the event of a nearby bushfire:

  • Plan your activities in advance on days of extreme heat and high winds. If visiting a national park, contact the visitor information centre for safe tourist activities and locations.
  • Let your friends know of your travel plans for the day.
  • Check ABCemergency on Twitter for any bushfire alerts in your area, if you have mobile reception. In case of emergency, call 000 and say ‘fire’ to the operator.
  • Do not try to drive through a bushfire. Tune your car radio to your local ABC radio station for updates on bushfire emergencies in your area.
  • Always carry plenty of drinking water and sun protection as fires can generate intense heat and cause dehydration.
  • On days of total fire ban, open fires like campfires are strictly prohibited.
  • Always follow the advice and instructions of local emergency services like the police and fire brigade.

For more information on bushfire safety, please visit

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