Today I launch the 2016-17 Consular State of Play – a statistical snapshot of consular assistance provided to Australians abroad by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

More than 10 million departures from Australia were recorded in 2016-17. With so many Australians travelling, things can go wrong including robbery, injury, assault and arrest. 

In 2016-17, our consular officers helped over 12,000 Australians in trouble overseas. These cases included:

  • 1641 arrests;
  • 1701 hospitalisations;
  • 2546 whereabouts inquiries;
  • 1653 deaths;
  • 3081 welfare cases; and
  • 1090 victims of crime (both assault and theft).

However, there are limits to the assistance the Government can provide.

Australians who choose to travel overseas should be as prepared and self-reliant as possible. Appropriate insurance is essential – if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel.

Travellers need to choose the right insurance for their trip. Many travellers mistakenly believe their insurance provides appropriate cover. According to the 2017 Australian Travel Insurance Behaviour survey released today and commissioned by DFAT and Understand Insurance, 48 per cent of recent cruise ship travellers bought the wrong kind of insurance for their travel.

Uninsured travellers who are hospitalised overseas or need medical evacuation can face crippling medical bills. Medicare and the Government will not cover those expenses.

I urge all Australians planning overseas travel to visit the Smartraveller website for advice and to read the Consular Services Charter, which explains what services the Government can provide if assistance is required while overseas.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555