What are family planning clinics?
Family planning clinics are specialised healthcare facilities that provide support relating to reproduction, contraception and pregnancy. Family planning clinics also offer information about how to plan for a healthy pregnancy, as well as how to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
You don’t need a referral to go to a family planning clinic for general advice. However, you may need to get a referral if you need a procedure done.
Australian states and territories have their own family planning clinics, which are often called different names (see below).
What services do family planning clinics offer?
Family planning clinics provide confidential, non-judgmental services specifically for sexual and reproductive health. The goal of family planning clinics is to provide high quality information and support to people so they can have control over their own sexual and reproductive health throughout their life.
Every Australian state and territory has clinics that are designed to provide support and guidance around:
- termination of pregnancy (abortion)
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hepatitis C and B
- sexual assault
- reproduction coercion
- LGBTIQA+ services and gender identity
- menopause information and management
Family planning clinics can also provide training to healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Parents, guardians and teachers can also receive information from family planning clinics to learn how to support young people to make informed choices about contraception and their own reproductive health.
As well as offering face to face healthcare, family planning clinics can offer telehealth services, phone support, pregnancy help line and health promotion services. Some clinics have a day procedure unit.
Family planning clinics can also provide counselling and support for unplanned pregnancy. If requested, they can refer to other services to help someone to make a fully informed decision around continuing or terminating a pregnancy by abortion.
Does it cost to go to a family planning clinic?
Most family planning clinics charge a consultation fee. This fee varies depending on whether you see a doctor, nurse or mental health worker. If a procedure is needed, this is added onto the consultation fee.
Medicare rebates are refunded, though there is often a gap between the consultation fee and the amount refunded by Medicare. Information about fees and rebates is offered before any consultations or procedures are offered.
At most family planning clinics, bulk billing is offered to people who:
- are aged 16 years and under
- have a Health Care Card, including Health Care Concession Cards and Low-Income Health Care Cards
- are Pensioner Concession Card holders
- receive Youth Allowance and hold one of the above cards
Clients aged 17-18 years are eligible for discounted fees.
What age do I have to be to go to a family planning clinic?
There is no law in Australia that says how old you must be before going to a family planning clinic. If you are 16 years or older you can consent to your own medical treatment. If you are under 16 you might be able to consent without your parent or guardian’s permission, depending on the type of medical treatment you need. This will depend on the treatment being in your own best interest, as well as 2 doctors agreeing before you can give consent. The staff who work at family planning clinics are specially trained to support people of all ages and stages of life. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a support person during consultations.
Some contraceptives, like the pill, need a doctor’s prescription. As long as you are aged 16 years or older and the contraceptive is safe for you, you are entitled to have them prescribed.
Where can I find a family planning clinic?
Family planning clinics can have different names depending on where they are based in Australia. Each Australian state and territory has its own family planning service:
- ACT — Sexual Health &Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT)
- NSW — Family Planning Australia
- Northern Territory — Family Planning Welfare Association of NT Inc.
- Queensland — True Relationships and Reproductive Health
- South Australia — SHINE SA
- Tasmania — Family Planning Tasmania
- Victoria — Sexual Health Victoria
- Western Australia — Sexual Health Quarters
Resources and support
Your GP is another source of support for information about reproduction and sexual health. You can also check what is available at your local community health centre. Your school may also have a youth health nurse who can talk to you about where you can go for support.
You can find your nearest family planning clinic using the Service Finder.
FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find family planning clinics, doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
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Last reviewed: November 2023