Living in Sydney?
Health and Leisure in Sydney
Australia has a public government-regulated healthcare system called Medicare. It is tax-financed through the Medicare Levy. Medicare covers the cost of all medical treatment a patient receives in state hospitals, as well as part of the medical expenses incurred by seeing a general practitioner or specialist doctor outside of a hospital. Although Medicare does cover most of the costs from doctor visitations, there is a usually a co-pay of 7 AUD at general practitioner appointments. In order to avail of Medicare coverage, simply visit the Medicare services website or go to your local Medicare office.
Some types of treatments or services are excluded, for example dentists, physiotherapists, visual aids, ambulance transport, etc. Prescription drugs are also excluded, but due to government subsidies, medicine is cheaper in Australia than in many other countries.
The Sydney metropolitan area has around 50 public hospitals or clinics, many of them providing specialist care or maintaining close links to university research centers. In addition, there are numerous private hospitals. The website of the Ministry of Health contains some useful information about medical services in the area, including a search function for medical facilities.
Please note that if you live in Sydney on a temporary visa, you will not be eligible for Medicare assistance. In this case, you need to get private health insurance. Proof of adequate health insurance that provides coverage for the whole period of your stay is a prerequisite for most temporary work visas.
Private healthcare providers are called funds in Australia. A lot of these funds offer packages especially tailored to the needs of expats and their visa requirements. Please refer to the website of the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, or check out commercial websites for more information on different funds and their products.
Australia has reciprocal healthcare agreements with a number of countries, namely Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK. Nationals of these countries qualify for Medicare assistance if they need essential medical treatment during a short-term stay in Australia.
A true metropolis, Sydney has much to offer in terms of leisure activities. Plenty of festivals are scheduled throughout the year, ranging from food festivals to sports events, from concerts to arts and crafts fairs. Many of them are free and outdoors.
Sydney has a vibrant live music and theater scene, and the world-famous Sydney Opera House hosts performances of international stars from the worlds of both classical and popular music. To find out what’s on in Sydney, visit the City of Sydney's events pages, “What’s On Sydney”. You can also subscribe to Time Out, which sends weekly listings of popular restaurants, pubs, clubs, and events to your email inbox.
In a climate like Sydney’s, outdoor activities are, of course, immensely popular among young and old alike. The City of Sydney maintains around 400 public parks, playgrounds, and other green spaces. They are used for cycling, running, picnics or barbecues and can be hired for sports competitions and parties.
Even horticulturalists lacking their own garden can entertain themselves in one of Sydney’s 23 community gardens. These gardens are perfect for growing herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruit. And don’t forget about the strips of beaches for swimming, sunbathing and surfing that abound in and around Sydney. Once you have left the city limits, you will soon find yourself in one of the vast and beautiful national parks surrounding Sydney.
Continue to the next page of this article to learn more about life in Sydney.
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