Escape to Australia? Yes, There Are Ways to Do That


Perth, Australia has become an increasingly popular destination for expats, for many good reasons.
Perth is located at the far western end of the continent of Australia.
Perth

What attracts expats to Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide?

By Ruth Simons

Recently, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth Australia were ranked in The Economist’s top ten “most livable” cities in the world: in first, fifth and seventh respectively.

While Australia currently ranks 11th on the HSBC Expat Explorer league table. So, just what is it about these cities – and Australia – that makes them so attractive to expats?

Inviting weather

Australia’s warmer climate is probably a key factor in its appeal to expats, especially to those who are relocating from a colder or wetter climate.

Although the almost constant heat can sometimes be overwhelming, cities like Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide have procedures in place which can help expats adjust to this kind of weather.

For instance, the Victoria state government has a heat health alert system which notifies hospitals, local governments, program areas, the general community, and others of the extreme heat forecasts and heatwave conditions which are likely to impact on human health.

Perth and Adelaide also have similar systems set up to protect their communities from the health risks that are caused by extreme heat. For Perth, it is The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) which monitors western Australia’s weather hazards.

A riverboat cruises along the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Max Hartshorne photos.
A riverboat cruises along the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Max Hartshorne photos.

In Adelaide, the Government of South Australia (SA Health) monitors southern Australia’s weather hazards.

A leafy park in Melbourne is a perfect place to enjoy another perfect Australian day.
A leafy park in Melbourne is a perfect place to enjoy another perfect Australian day.

Knowing that secure systems against weather risks are in place should provide reassurance and help prepare expats for any extreme weather conditions they may encounter.

Excellent Healthcare

Apart from the warm weather, not to mention beautiful beaches, one not so obvious but important factor attractive to expats and their families could be the outstanding standard of healthcare.

Australia’s system of universal medical cover known as Medicare, is a publicly funded initiative that offers primary health care for Australian citizens, permanent residents and other categories of visitors.

There are certain things that Medicare does not cover including ambulance services, medical and hospital services which are not clinically necessary i.e. surgery solely for cosmetic reasons, and some private patient hospital costs.

Adelaide

It also does not offer universal free healthcare for expats with the exception of expats from certain countries that have Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) with Australia.

This means that most residents of these countries can receive help with paying for essential medical treatments. These are Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Public transportation makes it easy to live without a car in Melbourne, Australia.
Public transportation makes it easy to live without a car in Melbourne, Australia. That’s a big draw for expats.

Expats from countries that are not included in the RHCA, may not receive the same cover. As such, depending on their country of origin, expats may need to have some form of international health insurance in place to help ensure they have access to the appropriate healthcare when they need it.

Good Transportation

From trains and trams to buses, taxis and even rideshares, traveling around Melbourne is easy. When traveling within the central area of Melbourne, expats can also benefit from the free tram journeys that are available.

The City Circle Tram is a free service that circles around central Melbourne, allowing people to spend how little or how much time they want with no extra charge.

Myki cards can also be used on trains, trams, and buses: this is a plastic smartcard which can be topped up and reused when traveling around Melbourne. They can be bought at premium train stations (where customer service centers are available), some retail outlets, and on the Public Transport Victoria website which also provides detailed information about how to use them.

As well as offering many forms of transport, Perth’s Central Area Transit buses are free to use and cover four major routes around all parts of the city. For expats that often cycle, Perth also has a great network of cycle and dual use paths, as well as u-rails for locking bicycles.

Perth has free buses and a wide network of other transit options for its citizens.
Perth has free buses and a wide network of other transit options for its citizens.

 

Melbourne

Not only does Adelaide offer numerous cycling routes, there are more than 500 bikes that can be hired for free from Adelaide Free Bikes, great for expats who enjoy cycling but who may not have a bike of their own to use.

As well as many other modes of transport including trams, coaches, and buses, there are also ferries which can take you to Kangaroo Island, a wonderful wildlife sanctuary just off the coast.

Another attractive feature of Adelaide-life is its supervised taxi rank system, which provides people with safe places to wait for taxis after a night out.

These places are dotted across the city and are usually supervised by a concierge and a security officer on Friday and Saturday nights between 11 pm and 4.30am.

Lifestyle and Culture

An attractive feature to expats could be Melbourne’s total love of leisure, culture, and creativity. From the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) to independent art galleries, fashion shows, theatre and dance events, there is always something going on!

Another hotspot for culture and creativity is Perth. Here, expats can experience the city’s thriving theatrical life including live music, comedy acts, and dance events. Expats can also find the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) which offers Australian and international contemporary, visual, performing, new media and hybrid arts.

Adelaide’s theatrical and cultural life can also be an attractive feature for expats. Known as Australia’s largest open-access arts festival, the Adelaide Fringe is internationally renowned as one of the best. Here, local, national, and international artists perform in venues across the city including theatres, art galleries, cafes and town halls, as well as pop up venues in parks, warehouses, and abandoned buildings.

Economic Opportunities in Australia

Adelaide Fringe is Australia’s largest open-access arts festival and is internationally renowned as one of the best.
Adelaide Fringe is Australia’s largest open-access arts festival and is internationally renowned as one of the best.

Australia’s economy is currently growing, has a low rate of unemployment (5.9%), and a low rate of inflation (1.5%). The services sector delivers 59% of the economy’s output, while the next two largest sectors – construction and manufacturing – deliver 9% and 7% output respectively.

In Melbourne, there are currently 450,336 jobs (not vacancies) in the municipality, with the most being in the professional, scientific and technical services industries. There are also many employment opportunities for expats with experience in finance, insurance, education, the arts, retail, healthcare, and media.

These sectors have also shown the most growth since 2002 so expats with experience, qualifications, and skills in these areas may find Melbourne more attractive than Perth or Adelaide.

These sectors have also shown the most growth since 2002 so expats with experience, qualifications, and skills in these areas may find Melbourne more attractive than Perth or Adelaide.

A higher number of Adelaide’s residents work in health care and social assistance than in any other industry. Other sectors include professional scientific and technical services, accommodation and food training, and education and training.

Expats with experience or qualifications in the tourism sector will be happy to know that Perth’s tourism industry is a major contributor to the Western Australian economy. Other major industries include resources, retail, and the creative industries.

Whether it is the warm weather, the high-quality health care, the ease of getting around the city, the economic opportunities, or a combination of all these elements, it is clear why expats find these three cities so livable and attractive, and why potential expats should consider living in one of these cities.

 

Ruth Simons is an expat from England and freelance writer who now lives in Perth, Australia.

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Max Hartshorne has been the editor and publisher of GoNOMAD Travel in South Deerfield Mass since 2002. He worked for newspapers and other sales positions for 23 years until he finally got what he wanted, and became the editor at GoNOMAD. He travels regularly, enjoys publishing new writers, and watching his grandchildren grow up.



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