Living in Australia
Finances and banking
- A goods and services tax (GST) of 10% applies to many goods and services
- Income tax is deducted from the wages you earn. The amount of income tax deducted from your salary will depend upon your residency status as determined by the Australian Taxation Office. Find out more about income tax in Australia.
Tax file number (TFN)
You should apply for a tax file number to avoid having to pay more tax than necessary. Application processing can take up to 28 days.
Once completed, forward the application via post to the Australian Taxation Office address nominated on the form.
Once issued with a TFN you should complete the Tax File Number Declaration and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure of your tax file number may be required by other agencies including banks and superannuation funds.
Superannuation (also known as “Super”) is money that you build up and save during your working life to help provide the lifestyle you want in retirement.
Contributions are normally paid by CSU and by yourself into a super fund as a percentage of your income. The CSU contribution, which includes the government mandated 9.5% superannuation guarantee, can be up to 17% on top of your standard income.
The superannuation contribution paid by the University and any co-contribution required by you will be detailed in your offer of employment.
You will be required to establish a bank account in Australia. There are a variety of banks and credit unions to choose from, and it is important that you choose a product that meets your needs.
In all instances, upon your arrival in Australia you will be required to provide evidence verifying your identity to your nominated bank. They will advise you of the types of documents required to be presented.
For further information on banking in Australia, please visit the Australian Securities & Investment Website.
Public health cover
The public health system (Medicare) provides access to free treatment in public hospitals, free or subsidised out-of-hospital treatment and access to subsidised medicines under the National Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Medicare does not cover all health related expenses. Cover for things such as ancillary care for optical and dental, ambulance services and private hospital admission should be arranged through private health cover.
You may be able to access Medicare if you are a citizen of a country which has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia and you hold an appropriate visa.
If eligible for Medicare, you will need to present identification and other relevant documents to Medicare following arrival to Australia.
Private health cover
If you are not eligible for Medicare, or you wish to buy private health cover for services that are not covered by Medicare, visit the Australian government’s private health website to investigate your options.
It is important to note that some temporary visa classifications may require you obtain private health insurance for yourself and any dependants prior to entering Australia and maintain this cover for the duration of your stay under the nominated visa classification.
If you currently hold private health insurance and your fund is a member of the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP) you may be able to transfer to an Australian fund, without penalty, and with a similar level of cover.
In Australia, children are required to attend school from the age of 6 until the completion of Year 10 or upon turning 17 years of age. You have the choice of sending your child or children to public school (government funded and operated) or to private school (Catholic and independent schools).
The Australian Schools Directory is a valuable point of reference for identifying both government and private schools. Use My School to search, review and compare schools. Public schools and some catholic schools may require you to reside within a designated geographic area in order to gain admission.
While public education is generally provided at little or no cost to citizens and permanent residents of Australia, fees may be applicable if you and your dependants are residing in Australia under temporary visa arrangements. Admission requirements vary between States and Territories, with fees charged on the basis of visa sub classification. As fees can be significant, we recommend you seek advice from the appropriate education provider for your intended location.
Depending on the State or Territory where you intend to reside, contact the following agencies for more information:
- NSW Department of Education
- Victorian Department of Education and Training
- ACT Government Education and Training Directorate
While bus services are available in most regional centres, services can be limited. A motor vehicle is, more often than not, the most convenient form of transport for regional living.
Driver’s Licence and Motor Vehicle Registration
To drive a motor vehicle in Australia, you will be required to comply with the driver’s licensing provisions of the State in which you intend to reside. You may be required to pass a knowledge test, a practical driving test and an eyesight test.
It is important when you are driving to keep your driver’s licence with you. The vehicle you drive in Australia must also be registered with the appropriate State government department.
- New South Wales - Transport, Roads and Maritime Services
- Victoria - VicRoads
- Australian Capital Territory - RegoACT
Whether you are considering renting or purchasing a property, we recommend you visit www.realestate.com.au or www.domain.com.au. Both sites offer a current listing of properties available for rent and purchase in your area of interest together with indicative pricing.
Cost of Living
To better understand the Cost of Living in Australia, compare cost of living with cities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Whilst Australia is an English speaking country, it has its own unique culture and values. It is important when relocating to Australia to give yourself and your family time to absorb and understand the Australian culture and adjust to your new surroundings.
It is important that both you and your family feel part of the local community. We encourage you to get involved in community life and experience what the region has to offer. Visitor Information Centres are an excellent source of information about the local area, providing maps and information on a range of topics including, sporting and cultural activities and access to facilities and services. We strongly recommend you visit the local visitor information centre either online or in person in the first few weeks after arrival and get involved in community life.