Australians overseas during the Y2K period have been urged
to make sure they are aware of the potential for Y2K-related
disruptions in the country in which they are living or visiting.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued
travel advisories on the potential for Y2K-related disruptions
for more than 70 countries in which Australia has diplomatic
representation. They draw upon the latest international information
available on Y2K preparations in different countries.
While it is impossible to predict with any accuracy the extent
of Y2K-related problems, a reasonably comprehensive picture of
the state of international readiness and potential risks is now
available for a range of sectors including transportation, telecommunications,
essential services such as power, water and energy, and the financial
and health sectors. The Department has undertaken comprehensive
planning both in Australia and at its overseas posts to minimise
any Y2K disruption to its operations, especially in the provision
of assistance to Australian citizens.
Contingency plans are now in place at all Australian overseas
posts. Additional resources will be provided to the 24 hour Consular
Operations Centre in Canberra which provides round-the-clock
assistance to Australians overseas and their family and friends
While Australian diplomatic posts overseas will strive to
provide assistance where it is required, Australians travelling
or resident overseas should also take their personal circumstances
into account and make their own contingency plans for possible
For instance, in countries where there is a risk of disruption
to financial services, Australians should ensure they have access
to sufficient funds to cover immediate needs. In the area of
transportation, scheduled services may be varied or cancelled,
bookings may not be confirmed and customs and immigration formalities
may be delayed. Medical, hospital and welfare services may also
be affected and Australians are advised to carry necessary medications
with them during their overseas travel.
Australians travelling overseas are urged strongly to arrange
appropriate medical and travel insurance and to seek advice about
whether their insurance policy provides comprehensive cover for
losses arising from Y2K-related incidents.
The Department will update Y2K travel advices as further information
The Consular Operations Centre can be contacted on 1300 555
135 within Australia or in other countries through the nearest
available Australian overseas post. Media are requested not
to call the Consular Operations Centre, but to direct any inquiries
on Y2K or consular issues to the Department's media duty officer
on 02 6261 1555.