In Australia, there can be up to five different time zones during summer time, and three at other times.
In the east, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria always have the same time. Queensland does not observe daylight saving time and is therefore one hour behind the other eastern states during this time.
In the middle, South Australia and the Northern Territory are half an hour behind in winter, but the Northern Territory does not observe daylight saving time, while South Australia does. During daylight saving time, South Australia is half an hour behind New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, but half an hour ahead of Queensland. The Northern Territory stays half an hour behind Queensland, but moves one and a half hours behind New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
In the west, Western Australia is two hours behind the eastern states in winter and also does not observe daylight saving time. It is three hours behind the eastern states that observe daylight saving time (two hours behind Queensland).
There are no official abbreviations or names for the Australian time zones, and you may see some variations used. EST, CST, WST as well as EDT, CDT are sometimes used. Sometimes AEST, etc., with the prefix “A” to distinguish them from North American time zones with the same names. Abbreviations are not used in conversation. People tend to say Sydney time, Brisbane time or Perth time. Expect blank looks from most people when you start talking about Central Daylight Saving Time.
In states that use daylight saving time, it begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April.
|New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania. ACT||UTC+10||UTC+11|
The mains voltage specified in AS 60038 has been 230V with a tolerance of +10% -6% and 50Hz since 2000. This was done for voltage harmonisation reasons – however, 240V (and rarely 250V) is within the tolerance and is commonly supplied. Mains voltage is still popularly referred to as “two forty volts”. Hotel bathrooms are often fitted with a type I, C and A plug labelled “for shaver only”, as shown right, and a normal 3-prong (earthed) plug; two-prong (the two angled pins) non-earthed plugs are also common. For larger appliances, a 3-phase (415V) plug is also used.
Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can work in Australia without a permit, but others need a work visa. It is illegal for foreigners to do paid work in Australia on a tourist visa. Be aware that any form of compensation for services rendered, whether monetary or otherwise (e.g. room and board), is considered payment in Australia, which means that such work would be illegal on a tourist visa. Volunteering is allowed as long as it is related to the trip (i.e. not the main purpose of the trip). Foreign nationals on student visas are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during school holidays. Working illegally in Australia carries a very real risk of arrest, detention, deportation and a permanent ban on re-entry to Australia. All visitors who are not permanent residents or Australian citizens (including New Zealand citizens who are not also permanent residents or Australian citizens) are not eligible to access the Australian Unemployment Insurance Scheme and have limited or no access to the Australian government’s health care payment system.
Payment and taxes
Most Australian employers pay by direct deposit into Australian bank accounts, so you should open a bank account as soon as possible. You can open an account from overseas with some banks, such as Commonwealth Bank and HSBC.
You also need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) as soon as possible. You can apply for a TFN for free online at the Australian Taxation Office website, but you can usually get it faster by simply visiting an Australian Taxation Office. You can also start working without a tax number, but it is advisable to get one as soon as possible as your employer will have to deduct 45% of your wages for tax if you don’t provide a number. Register your TFN with your bank as soon as possible or the interest you receive will be taxed at the highest rate. The Australian tax year runs from 1 July to 30 June and tax returns for each year are due on 30 October, four months after the end of the year. Find out about Australian tax obligations and how to complete an Australian tax return from the Australian tax authorities.
The Australian employer makes a compulsory payment on your behalf from your earnings into an Australian superannuation (retirement) fund. Visitors on a temporary work visa who are not Australian or New Zealand citizens must apply for this money when they leave Australia. This payment is known as the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) and you can apply for it online. New Zealand citizens can transfer their superannuation money to their KiwiSaver account in New Zealand; contact your provider to arrange this transfer.
Working Holiday Programme
Australia has a working holiday program for citizens of certain countries aged 18 to 30. This programme allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the time you first enter the country. You can work during this time, but only for 6 months with the same employer. The idea is that you take a leave of absence that is subsidised by casual or short-term employment. If you are interested in working leave, some useful skills and experience might be: Office skills that you can use for temporary work, or hospitality skills that you can use to work in a bar or restaurant. An alternative is seasonal work, such as fruit picking, although many seasonal jobs require you to work outside of major cities. If you work in seasonal work for three months, you can apply for a second 12-month visa.
You can apply for a Working Holiday Visa online, but you do not need to be in Australia at the time. It usually only takes a few hours to process your application and costs around $360 (as of April 2013). When you arrive in Australia, get the Working Holiday Visa “notarised” so you can present it to your future employer.
The easiest way to get a work visa (subclass 457, 186 and 187) is to find an Australian employer who will sponsor you. Your employer must prove that they cannot hire someone with your skills in Australia. Locally advertised jobs usually require a valid work visa before your application can be considered. It may take a few months from the start of the application process to obtain the visa, and you will need to undergo a medical examination by an immigration doctor before it is granted (including a chest X-ray to show you do not have tuberculosis). An employer with good experience and effective immigration lawyers could have your 457 approved within a week. Note that your work visa is only valid for the employer who sponsored you and that you must leave within 30 days of the end of your employment.
The RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa (subclass 187) is the easiest visa for employers to obtain, although you must live and work in a designated ‘regional’ area. These areas tend to be rural and away from major cities, although Adelaide is included in this scheme.
Qualified independent visas (subclass 189, 190, 489) can be applied for if you have a valuable specialised skill and do not want to be tied to a particular employer.
There is also a temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) that allows graduates of Australian universities to stay and work in Australia. This visa is usually valid for between 18 months and 4 years, depending on your level of education and your major field of study. Your major field of study must be on a list of skilled occupations for which there is a labour shortage in Australia. This list is updated every year and whether you can get this visa depends on the list when you graduate, not when you start your studies.
You can apply for immigration as a professional or business person, but this procedure takes longer than applying for a work visa. You can also apply for permanent residence status as a work or study visa holder, but your application will not be automatically accepted. If you have a lot of money, there are a number of investor visas that allow you to live in Australia for permanent residence. After four years of legal residence, including one year as a permanent resident, you can apply for Australian citizenship.
There are several opportunities for volunteering in Australia. Many global organisations offer longer trips for those who want to give up their time to work with local people on projects such as habitat restoration, conservation and development, scientific research and education programs, such as Australian Volunteers, World Wildlife Fund, International Student Volunteers Australia, Youth Challenge Australia, Gap 360 and Xtreme Gap Year.