Safety and security
Australia is a safe place to live and study, however you should still use common sense to ensure the safety of yourself and your personal possessions. Keeping these simple safety tips in mind will allow you to enjoy your study in Australia.
General safety information
Studying overseas is an exciting time. But don't forget there are still risks here as there are anywhere else in the world. Keep these general safety tips in mind to stay out of harms way:
- At night, stay in well-lit areas and avoid walking alone
- Always lock your house and car and never leave your valuables unattended
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially when on your phone or crossing the road
- Always carry a mobile phone so you can make a call in the event of an emergency
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker
- Never drink and drive — always have a plan for how you'll get home
- Avoid drinking to excess and look out for your friends
- Don't leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger
For further information on staying safe, check out the Queensland Police Service Safer Living brochure.
In the event of an emergency, dial 000 for fire, police, and ambulance services. There are no charges for fire or police services and any costs associated with ambulance services will be covered by your OSHC insurance.
Australians love the beach and you will too. However it can be a dangerous place if you're not a strong swimmer or are unfamiliar with the conditions at the beach. If you follow these simple tips you'll stay safe at the beach:
- Only swim on a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags where lifeguards can see you
- Read and follow any safety signs; they help you identify any potential dangers
- Always swim with a friend so you can look out for each other and get help if needed
- If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm and raise your arm to signal a lifeguard for help
- If you get caught in a rip, float with it (don't try and swim against it) and raise your arm for help
In addition to the above, remember to never:
- swim at an unpatrolled beach (beaches without red and yellow flags)
- swim at night
- swim under the influence of alcohol
- run and dive into the water (there may be a sandbank and it could be shallower than you think)
- swim immediately after a meal
For more safety tips, visit the Surf Life Saving Queensland website.
The sun in Queensland is very strong and you may find that your skin burns easily if you spend a lot of time outdoors. To avoid getting burnt you can protect your skin from the sun by:
- minimising your time in the sun between 10am and 3pm
- seeking shade where possible
- wearing suitable clothing that provides good sun protection including a hat and UV protective sunglasses
- applying SFP 30+ broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out into the sun and reapplying every two hours
Visit the Sun Smart website for more information.
Staying safe in the great outdoors
Queensland has many beautiful places to explore. Below are some tips to remember when going into a national park or other remote area:
- Always travel with other people
- Make sure someone knows where you are at all times
- Stay on the road or walking track
- Never dive into a river or lake (there may be rocks or it could be shallower than you think)
- Don't touch or feed wild animals
If you live or travel to north Queensland please follow these additional safety tips:
- During certain times of the year jellyfish can be found at the beach. To avoid being stung, swim between the flags, swim in stinger nets, wear a stinger suit, or swim in the man-made lagoon.
- In north Queensland crocodiles can live in rivers, freshwater lagoons, swamps, and other waterways up to hundreds of kilometres from the sea. Do not enter water where crocodiles may live and look out for crocodile signs around waterways in this area.
Keep your personal safety in mind and use common sense when accessing and using your money. These safety tips are handy to follow in Australia, at home, or anywhere you travel:
- Cover the keypad when entering your pin number at an ATM
- Don't withdraw or carry large amounts of money
- Use an ATM in a well-lit, public area if withdrawing money at night.
- Don't write down your pin or passwords — memorise them and don't share them with anyone
- Keep an 'emergency' credit or debit card in a safe place at home so you can still access your money if your wallet is lost or stolen
- If you're in a crowd, ensure your wallet is in a safe place and can't be easily taken from your pocket or bag
When using the internet in Australia, as in any country, it's important to keep your personal details safe, beware of email scams, and keep your computer free from viruses. Follow these tips to be internet savvy:
- Don't post personal information online such as your address, email address, or mobile number
- Keep your privacy settings as high as possible
- Never write down or give out your passwords, and change them regularly
- Install anti-virus and other security software and update it regularly.
- Beware of email scams asking for you to supply personal information, click on unsafe links, or pay money
- When shopping online use a secure payment platform such as PayPal