There is plenty of support available in Australia families who have migrated to Australia or arrived in Australia as refugees, both from the government and from community organisations. These suggestions can help you find the best service for you.
When you migrate to Australia, the health services you are entitled to will depend on your visa. The Australian Government provides payments and services to help you if you have recently arrived in Australia to live, but waiting periods and other conditions may apply.
The Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs can help you find what your visa entitles you to, and provides links to useful resources and support services.
Services Australia offers a range of support for new arrivals to Australia, including a one-off crisis payment, a special benefit for people in severe financial need, free interpreting services and multicultural service officers. If you are a refugee, you can get help from the Refugee Servicing Network.
You can discuss income support payments and services on the department's multilingual phone service on 131 202. For help with health or child support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.
If you do not speak English, the Federal Government offers up to 510 hours of free English language training to eligible people (Adult Migrant English Program). It also provides training to improve skills and confidence when looking for work (Skills for Education and Employment program). Migrant Resource Centres throughout Australia provide support to newly arrived migrants and refugees.
Australian residents and some eligible visitors are entitled to Medicare services. Medicare provides a range of medical services, subsidised medicines and free care in public hospitals. You can enrol in Medicare by completing a Medicare enrolment application form and submitting it with proof of identity and your residency documents to a service centre. You can call Medicare on 132 011 to find out more.
If you have a health problem, first visit a general practitioner (doctor). Forming a trusting relationship with your local doctor is the best way to protect your health and that of your family. Your doctor can put you in touch with other services in your area. For help with Medicare or Child Support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.
Centrelink payments and services
Services Australia offers a range of payments and services to help families. These include payments for families who have just had a baby or adopted a child, payments like the Family Tax Benefit and Parenting Payment to help you with the cost of raising children, and payments to help with your children’s education costs.
If you have a Medicare card, Medicare will subsidise your costs during pregnancy and giving birth. Medicare covers:
- antenatal care during pregnancy
- labour and birth
- care just after giving birth
- care of your newborn baby
Medicare during pregnancy has more information on what Medicare will provide. You can also read more about the differences between public and private care during pregnancy and private health insurance and pregnancy.
Find out more about the benefits Medicare may provide during pregnancy by visiting the Services Australia website. If you’re not an Australian resident, there’s more information on pregnancy care on a visa in Australia.
The childcare finder website has information on different types of childcare and how to get assistance with the costs. You can also search a database to find child care centres in your local area.
A number of national organisations that offer help with relationships and other family problems.
- Relationships Australia offers counselling, education programs, mediation services and other help for families and couples, including a range of resources for non-English speaking clients. You can call them on 1300 364 277.
- Beyond Blue offers mental health support and counselling as well as information and advice in different languages. You can call them on 1300 22 4636.
- Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential phone counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25. You can call them on 1800 55 1800.
- Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) has information on how to prevent infant deaths as well as links to bereavement support services.
- MensLine Australia is a national support service for men with family and relationship concerns.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: January 2021