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Billions of years in the making, Western Australia is one of the most ancient lands on the planet.
That’s a lot of history to explore – from 3.5 billion-year-old living fossils, to more than 40,000 years of Aboriginal history and four centuries of European influence.
WA’s capital city of Perth is envied around the world for its near-perfect climate and outdoor lifestyle. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, the sun shines for an average of nine hours each day, providing Perth with over 130 perfect blue-sky days each year.
The sunniest capital city in Australia, during the summer months (December to February) average maximum temperatures hover around 29°C, with February generally the hottest month of the year. Summer nights are extremely pleasant, with the city enjoying an average 18°C. In the cooler winter months (June to August) temperatures rarely fall below 15°C during the day and often reach into the early to mid twenties. Nighttime temperatures can drop to as low as 6°C in winter. Rain and thunderstorms are not uncommon during the winter. Autumn and Spring temperatures tend to be pretty similar, into the high twenties during the daytime, and an average of 10°C at night.
Perth transport system
Travelling in and around Perth is pretty easy, thanks to an extensive highway and freeway network and a substantial system of commuter rail lines and bus routes. Perth’s road network comprises of three freeways and nine metropolitan highways, all of which are toll free.
Public transport is operated by Transperth, and comprises of buses, trains and ferries. Links to rural areas in Western Australia are provided by TransWA. Holders of the Smartrider travel pass can enjoy zero-fare train trips around the city centre (the “Free Transit Zone”). The Central Area Transit (CAT) bus routes (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green) and regular Transperth buses in the city centre are free to all users.
To view the public transport timetables and maps, visit www.transperth.wa.gov.au
Driving in Perth
You can drive on your current overseas licence in Western Australia as long as:
- you remain a visitor
- your overseas licence remains current
- you have not been disqualified from driving
- you have not had your licence suspended or cancelled or your visiting driver privileges withdrawn.
Temporary overseas visiting drivers include:
- people on business trips
- people studying in WA or working temporarily (working or working holiday visa holders)
- overseas defence force personnel and their families.
Your licence must be written in English or, if the licence is not in English, you must also carry an English translation (must be translated by accredited NAATI Translator) or an International Driving Permit (IDP) with your licence when driving. It does not have to be a photo ID licence.
Renting a house
If you are renting a home (as a tenant), or renting out an investment property (as a lessor/landlord), you have a variety of rules, rights and responsibilities.
The Department of Commerce provides advice for tenants renting a property, including bonds, rent and maintenance responsibilities. To help you understand renting laws and avoid common renting pitfalls, you will need to take into consideration the following:
- payment of rent and rent increases
- security bonds
- entry rights of the lessor or property manager
- who pays utilities, rates and taxes
- property condition reports
- ending a tenancy.
Renting a home or unit in Western Australia is governed by a set of laws called the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989.
Whether you are a lessor/landlord or tenant, always make sure you do your homework before signing a rental agreement. Ask yourself:
- can you pay the rent and still have money to live?
- is it close to shops, schools or public transport?
- is it suitably maintained and secure?
- what type of agreement would suit you (periodic or fixed-term)?
It is important to shop around to avoid making rash decisions about renting. There can be significant up-front costs, so think very carefully about what you can afford. To rent a house at $380 per week could cost you about $2,500 to move in. You may have to find the money to pay for:
- rent in advance (two weeks): $760
- a security bond (equivalent to a maximum of four weeks’ rent): $1520
- a bond for a cat or dog or any pet capable of carrying parasites that can affect humans (except guide dogs) (if you have one and are allowed to keep one under the tenancy agreement): a maximum amount of $260
- other costs associated with changing house, such as moving furniture, etc.
Download the Renting a Property Guide provided by the Department of Commerce.
Buying a house
Currently, the average house pricing in Perth is approximately AUD 500,000. In Australia, you are required to make a deposit of around 20% to secure a property; the balance of the purchase price can be made under a home loan. The process for applying for a home loan is relatively simple and the interest rate is low. In China, buying a home is much less affordable than it is in Australia. In addition, most of the property and land purchases in Australia are Green Title, which is permanent ownership under the buyer.
General information for home buyers
Stages of home buying process
- Find a property you want to buy
- Liaise with home loan provider
- Submit application
- Contract of Sale by Offer and Acceptance is signed by both parties
How the mortgage process works?
- In Australia, you may need to commit AUD 2,000 – 5,000 as a deposit when you offer to purchase a house. You are then given a timeframe to complete the mortgage process. Your ownership of the house takes place on the settlement day.
- The mortgage process generally takes about 6 weeks to complete, including the duration for assessment and contract finalisation.
Information needed for applying for a home loan
- Asset: Currently owned property, saving, vehicle and etc.
- Liability: Other loan and debt
- Income: Salary and Wages and other income (if the purchased property is for investment purpose, the income generated from this investment will be considered)
- Expenses: No written document needed as evidence.
Medicare is Australia’s universal health care system. It was introduced in 1984 to provide eligible Australian residents with affordable, accessible high-quality health care. Medicare was established based on the understanding that all Australians should contribute to the cost of health care according to their ability to pay. The system is financed through progressive income tax and an income-related Medicare levy.
Medicare provides access to:
- free treatment as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
- free or subsidised treatment by medical practitioners including general practitioners, specialists, participating optometrists or dentists (for specified services only).
The Australian Government Rebate was introduced as an incentive to encourage Australians to take out their own private health insurance. It’s designed to help Australians meet their private health insurance costs by providing a discount based on their level of income.
It makes private health insurance more affordable and accessible. It also provides residents with the opportunity to select a more comprehensive level of cover if they so wish.
Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for the rebate, as long as they hold a green Medicare Card and have private health insurance with a registered fund. The rebate applies to all types and levels of cover.
Education in Western Australia is supervised by the Department of Education, which forms part of the Government of Western Australia. It follows a three-tier system, consisting of primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools or secondary colleges) and tertiary education (Universities and TAFE Colleges).
Pre-school in Western Australia is relatively unregulated, neither is it compulsory. Pre-school education is separate from primary school. Day care or parent-run playgroups often provide Australian children with their first opportunity to learn and mix with others outside of traditional parenting. But this sort of activity is not generally considered schooling.
Pre-schools tend to be run by locals councils, community groups or private organisations. Offering a few hours of activity over the course of five days, pre-schooling is available to children between three and five years of age.
The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. Pre-primary will normally run on site or at sites directly associated with primary schools. Pre-primary isn’t compulsory, however all primary schools encourage children to be enrolled in this program. It is designed to help them successfully transition into primary school.
Primary education consists of seven grades: a preparatory year (commonly called “pre-primary”) followed by Years 1 to 7. The minimum age at which a child can commence primary school education is 4.5 years of age. That is, the child can enroll in a school at the preparatory level if he or she would be five years of age by 30 June of that year. A child must commence education before the age of six.
The primary school curriculum integrates skills, knowledge and understanding in eight learning areas:
- English or literacy
- Mathematics or numeracy
- Technology and enterprise
- Society and environment
- Health and physical education
- Language other than English (LOTE)
High schooling consists of years 7 to 12. In 2015 Year 7 is considered as High School. High schools are generally separate institutions to primary schools, however this is not always the case.
Lower Secondary School: Year 7 -10
Students focus on the same eight learning areas as Primary students, but with greater diversity in electives and subject choice.
Upper Secondary School: Years 11-12
Your child can elect to study subjects which will prepare them for future study or their chosen career. Specific subject areas are taught by teachers with specialist qualifications.
Western Australia’s Year 12 qualification is known as the Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE). Your child can opt to sit for the Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE). Their Tertiary Entrance Ranking (TER) is based upon school assessment and their TEE results. Your child’s TER score can be used to establish their eligibility for universities and colleges, both in Australia and overseas.
Western Australia is home to five world-class universities and several higher education colleges. A university degree from Perth is a qualification from an internationally respected centre of learning.
Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, and the University of Western Australia are large universities. Partly government-funded, they provide a wide range of degree courses, from bachelor degrees to doctorate level. The University of Notre Dame Australia is a Catholic university, whose degree programs are being enlarged rapidly.
Migrants with young children living in Australia, will more than likely need to engage in childcare services. In Australia, there are various types of day care services, including:
- long day care
- family day care
- out of school hours care
- in-home care (nannies)
The Child Care Rebate (CCR) is a payment from the Government to help working families with the cost of child care. If you use approved child care for work, training or study-related purposes, the Government will cover 50% of your out-of-pocket costs, up to AUD 7,500 per child per year.
According to research from the University of Adelaide, children who receive a quality childcare experience at age 2-3 are more likely to be attentive and better able to deal with their emotions as they start school.
If you are an eligible AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program) client with children under school age, you may be entitled to free childcare service while you are in class. This service will help you to study knowing that your children are safe and well looked after. However, you can only access AMEP funded childcare service during your class hours, and only on the days of your classes. If you are absent from your class, you cannot use the service.