Communications

Postal Services

The national postal service in Australia is called Australia Post. All post offices are open between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Australia Post offices are also located in suburban shopping centres and the majority of local newsagents also have postal facilities.

A fixed rate applies to all standard size and weight envelopes posted to any part of Australia.  Stamps can be purchased at most newsagents as well as at Australia Post offices and on many of the university campus shops.

Parcels from home, which contain foodstuffs or medicine, are liable to be opened for examination by Customs and Postal Authorities.  Medicines particularly, are subject to analysis and you will possibly require the approval of a local doctor to gain possession.

The Australia Post website is full of very informative information including locations of all post offices in WA.

www.auspost.com.au

Change of Address:

If you change your address in Australia, you must lodge an application to redirect your mail. This form is available online at Australia Post or in person at any Post Office, so that mail may be re-directed to your new address.  There is a charge for this service, but you can advise for how long you wish your mail re-directed, e.g. one month, two months, or perhaps longer.  The best way, of course, is to give friends and relatives your new address as quickly as possible to ensure that your mail does not get lost.

Remember! It is a condition of your stay in Australia, as well as to your own advantage to inform your academic institution and the Immigration Department, when you move to a new address.  Please take this advice seriously. If you are moving to another place of accommodation, you must clear your mail from the old address in case someone steals important documents from your old address. 

CISWA RECOMMENDS THAT YOU ADVISE STUDENT SERVICES AT YOUR CAMPUS WHEN MOVING TO NEW ACCOMMODATION.  Having your mail directed to Student Services until you settle into your new accommodation, could save you a lot of heartache and loss of money. 

WA Police advise that all mailboxes should have a secure lock placed on them.

Telephones

The local telephone directory is called the “White Pages” and is available in hard copy and online. The White Pages list all the residential, business and government phone numbers and addresses for WA. This also includes contact details for doctors, dentists, hospitals and other useful organizations.

www.whitepages.com.au

The “Yellow Pages” is a business/trade directory that lists contact details for all of these services. If you are looking for restaurants, hairdressers, mechanics, caravan parks, etc then they can all be found in this directory. It is available online and in hard copy.

www.yellowpages.com.au

Both of these directories are updated and delivered free of charge once a year to every home and business in WA.

Telstra and Optus Australia are a couple of providers of the telephone cable network in Australia however there are many other providers of telephone and internet packages. Interstate and overseas calls can be expensive so phone cards or skype are a better option here.

Getting connected, if you are renting: Contact Telstra to arrange the connection. Also ask if there is broadband in your area, for internet connection.  There will be a charge for the initial connection of the phone.  The person who organizes for the phone to be connected and whose name will appear on the phone account will be entirely responsible for the account.  Therefore, do not forget to have your phone disconnected if you move out of your present house. Your phone account gives details of all calls, including long distance calls. You will be billed monthly. You may wish to shop around and get quotes from other phone providers.

www.telstra.com.au

www.optus.com.au

www.iinet.net.au

Mobile Phones in Australia

Mobile phones, Skype and other types of electronic communication media  are now an everyday part of modern communications globally. There are many providers to choose from if you wish to purchase a plan and phone here in Australia, but be aware that there are often minimum contract periods for phone plans, usually 24 months. Many students prefer to purchase a pre-paid phone where they can put credit on the phone as required.  In Australia Mobile Phone Manners are very important, especially when traveling close to other people on public transport and in public places. You can consider other people by following the Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile phone manners:

Do…

  • respect the privacy of others when making or receiving calls
  • if stolen, report immediately to the police and your phone company
  • turn off when entering a hospital
  • speak quietly on your phone in public, most people don’t want to hear your conversation

Don’t Make or receive calls…

  • on an aircraft
  • in a restaurant, out of consideration for other diners
  • in the class room or library, or during lectures
  • in a hospital, doctor’s surgery or dentist
  • at the cinema or theatre
  • at a wedding, funeral or during a religious gathering or service

It is against the law to hold a mobile phone in your hand, while driving a car and doing so can attract the attention of the police, resulting in a monetary fine or even loss of license. “Hands free” equipment should be installed in your car OR you should drive safely and allow the caller to leave a message.

I.C.E.

Doing The Following Could Save Your Life In An Emergency:  Create a contact called I.C.E. on your mobile phone.  I.C.E. = In Case Of Emergency

Sometimes students become seriously injured in car accidents OR have other illnesses such as epileptic seizures and pass out (or faint) in public places.  If you put the I.C.E. number in your phone, this will allow ambulance drivers, doctors or police, to contact the people in your I.C.E quickly.  The people in your group could be your parents, your best friends (who know you well), a teacher or student advisor from the campus that you are studying at or a homestay parent.

Mobile Phone Billing Issues!

Many students get into financial trouble with mobile phone contracts during their stay, owing large sums of money for their phone bills when they are not well informed of the terms of their contract in regard to financial commitment over a long period of time, and call costs. Read all documents thoroughly before signing any contract, and if unclear, ask questions or seek the help of an advisor or friend whose English skills are good.  Avoid third-party subscription services such as horoscopes and ring tones as they have ongoing fees added to your account each month. Pre-paid phone packages are a safer option for students.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO): is an office of last resort for complaints and provides a free service for customers who have been unable to resolve a complaint directly with their Telephone Company or Internet Service Provider.

www.tio.com.au

Internet Access

You will find lots of places where you can access the internet cheaply in and around Perth.  Your educational facility should also provide access to the internet and email, for the purpose of study and research, however strict regulations apply in regard to access to certain material, websites and downloads.

If you want to download a lot of music and games, you should consider getting your own internet service provider (ISP) for a monthly fee. To do this you will need to have your own telephone connection. Many students in off-campus shared accommodation will get a landline phone connection and wireless internet set up at their house and share the monthly cost between them.

You should be aware that if you are using a free wireless connection in, for example, a coffee shop then everything you type may be accessible to people nearby with spy software.

Newspapers

Many students access home country newspapers by the internet, or from campus libraries; you may wish to do this. It is also possible to obtain overseas newspapers and the less popular magazines by taking out a subscription at your local newsagent.  The national paper “The Australian” and major interstate papers can be obtained from the bigger news agencies. The local daily WA paper is “The West Australian”.  The weekend papers are “The Sunday Times” and “The Weekend Australian”.  Many suburbs have local free “Community” newspapers which are useful for information about the area in which you are living. These often contain advertisements for second-hand goods such as furniture, for trade services, and for casual employment and accommodation.

www.au.news.yahoo.com/thewest

www.communitynews.com.au

Public Libraries

The area in which you live will have a free local public library which is run by the local council in your area- membership is free.

The State Reference Library is called the Alexander Library and is located in James Street, Perth.

This is an excellent centre for further research and private study, and is readily accessible by public transport. Newspapers from many overseas countries can be read free of charge at the State Library.  Daily newspapers from overseas can also be read in the libraries of universities and some colleges.

If you wish to subscribe to an overseas newspaper or magazine, inquire at your local news agency for details and costs. Suburban public libraries may provide some study facilities, and have good stocks of fiction and non-fiction. Also, they may have audiotapes on learning English, and some foreign language books. It is unlikely that they will have the specialist reading material required for your academic courses.