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The 2019-20 Consular State of Play


The 2019-20 Consular State of Play is a snapshot of the consular assistance provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to Australians overseas during the last financial year.

It captures a period of unprecedented consular support. DFAT has dealt with simultaneous crises in virtually every part of the world, demanding the largest and most complex consular responses Australia has undertaken.

Since the COVID-19 crisis emerged in January 2020 and up to the end of June, DFAT supported more than 26,600 Australians to return. This figure now exceeds 38,000. DFAT also provided timely information to hundreds of thousands of Australians overseas, which has helped over 400,000 to return to Australia over the last year. The important work to support Australians to return continues.

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the ability for Australians to travel. Prior to the border closures, there were some 8.5 million overseas trips from Australia in 2019–20, down from over 11 million the previous year.

In 2019-20, Australian consular officials managed over 14,513 cases or around 1,200 active cases on any given day. These included:

  • 1,443 arrests
  • 1,555 hospitalisations
  • 278 assaults
  • 1,546 deaths
  • 3,478 whereabouts inquiries

Overseas travel remains challenging due to the ongoing risks and travel disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Our global Smartraveller Do Not Travel Advice for all destinations reflects the COVID-19 risks and uncertainties. The outward travel ban from Australia managed by the Department of Home Affairs remains in place.  We know many Australians are keen to travel again. When borders do eventually re-open, overseas travel will be more complex. It will be more important than ever to be informed and prepared. We continue to encourage Australians to explore the Smartraveller website and read the Consular Services Charter which explains what the Government can and can't do for you, if you find yourself in need of assistance overseas.

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