Assisting Australians overseas

The Government is committed to providing a modern, efficient and cost-effective consular service to Australians in distress overseas. This is an important and complex task at a time when Australians are travelling overseas in unprecedented numbers. (Figure 5.1 shows record levels of demand for Australian passports.) We provide information and advice, including a comprehensive range of travel advisories, to empower Australians to help themselves while travelling and living overseas.

Figure 5.1 Growing demand for Australian passports

Year Percentage of Australians with an Australian passport
2001 38%
2006 43%
2011 49%
2017 56%

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 


Calculation is at 30 June for each year 

The Government is providing increasingly tailored advice to respond to new travel trends, such as the growth in young Australians travelling independently, a rise in Australians retiring overseas and the growth in international cruises.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will build partnerships with social media and telecommunications companies to develop alternative tools to establish the welfare and whereabouts of Australians during emergencies overseas.

In the face of rising demand, we will ensure consular resources are directed to those most in need. The Government no longer provides consular assistance to Australian permanent residents (except during crises) or to dual nationals in their country of other nationality in cases where they are clearly self-sufficient. DFAT is improving its capacity to manage complex cases such as those involving mental health issues and victims of violent crime.

The Government’s crisis management systems are world-class and we are committed to their further improvement. We are building stronger cooperation arrangements with key international partners to broaden our reach and extend our global capability. DFAT’s new Global Watch Office delivers a 24/7 government capability to monitor and respond to international events that affect Australian interests.