27 September 2023

DFAT reports on overseas aid

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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 2017-18 Consular State of Play — a snapshot of the consular services provided to Australians overseas during the year — has been published.

Launching the report, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne said concerns for the safety and security of Australians extended to the millions who lived and travelled overseas.

“Australian residents took more than 10.7 million overseas trips in 2017-18, an increase of 13 per cent over the past five years,” Senator Payne said.

“The vast majority came home safely, but a small number needed to ask the Government for help,” she said.

The new document shows that in 2017-18, Australian Consular Officers managed more than 11,800 cases, including 1,540 arrests, 1,585 hospitalisations, 2,510 whereabouts inquiries, 1,671 deaths and 269 assaults.

“Overall, these numbers are down slightly on the previous year despite the increasing number of Australians working and living overseas, suggesting more Australians are taking the necessary precautions when leaving our shores,” Senator Payne said.

“However, there are limits to what the Government can do.”

She called on Australians to be as prepared and self-reliant as possible for overseas travel.

“Key to this is getting the right travel insurance,” the Minister said.

“If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”

She said the 2018 Australian Travel Insurance Behaviour Survey, commissioned by DFAT and Understand Insurance, revealed that 11 per cent of travellers had no travel insurance and 82 per cent of under-30s undertook risky behaviour such as adventure sports, riding motorcycles and excessive consumption of alcohol.

The Department’s 16-page 2017-18 Consular State of Play can be accessed at this PS News link.

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