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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally



OUTCOME 2: The protection and welfare of Australians abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport services in Australia and overseas

Program 2.1: Consular services (departmental)

Program 2.1 Objective

  • To protect the welfare of Australians abroad by supporting and assisting Australian travellers and Australians overseas through high-quality consular services, including timely travel advice, practical contingency planning and rapid crisis response.

Program 2.1 Deliverables

  • High-quality consular services to an increasing number of Australian travellers and Australian citizens living overseas, including notarial services and assistance with welfare issues, whereabouts inquiries, arrest or detention matters, deaths and medical emergencies.
  • High-quality travel advisory services, including issuing up-to-date travel information on travel destinations, promotion of this information through the smartraveller campaign using various media and travel-oriented networks, and management of an online travel registration service.
  • Effective consular contingency planning for major events or high-risk scenarios, including through regular reviews of procedures and available resources, training of staff, and coordination with other government agencies and foreign governments.
  • Coordination of whole-of-government responses to large-scale crises involving conflict, civil unrest, natural disasters or tragic accidents.

Program 2.1 Key performance indicators

  • The department’s delivery of consular services is effective, efficient, timely and responsive, and within the scope of Australian Government responsibility.
  • The department’s travel advisory services are up-to-date, accurate, responsive and effective in reaching a broad audience and encouraging a greater awareness of potential risks and the extent of Australian Government assistance, and public use of the online registration service and smartraveller website continues to grow.
  • Consular contingency planning accurately anticipates high-risk events and scenarios, the necessary resources for response are readily available, the procedures and networks remain valid and viable, and plans are tested and reviewed regularly to satisfaction.
  • Coordination of whole-of-government responses to large-scale crises is targeted, timely, consultative, resourceful and effective in maintaining the welfare of the maximum possible number of Australians involved.

Program 2.1. Consular services (departmental)

Overview

The numbers of Australians travelling overseas increased again in 2009–10 and we provided consular assistance to the many who sought our help. We maintained a comprehensive system of travel advisories to help Australians make informed decisions about their security, safety and well-being, particularly in high-risk destinations. We used our smartraveller public information campaign to help Australians prepare for their travel and promote safe travel messages such as the importance of subscribing to our travel advice, registering travel plans online and taking out travel insurance.

Our casework in dangerous and remote areas continued to grow as more Australians travelled to these locations. The increasing popularity of adventure tourism also had an impact on our consular caseload, as did the numbers of Australians travelling overseas to attend major events, including sporting events. Contingency planning was a key part of our work in 2009–10, both for general consular preparedness and in relation to specific major events, such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and Anzac Day commemorations in Turkey and France.

We refined our crisis management capacity while responding to a number of major incidents overseas, including several in which Australians were killed. We also undertook further work on our technical and communications support for consular work both in Canberra and overseas and reviewed our network of Regional Consular Officers. Both measures were part of our work to enhance our ability to respond quickly to consular incidents, particularly in remote locations or where our consular representation is less concentrated.

Consular services

At 30 June 2010, Australians had access to consular services in 174 locations around the world through:

  • 85 diplomatic and consular missions, one representative office and 48 consulates headed by honorary consuls managed by the department
  • 16 consular missions and three consulates headed by honorary consuls managed by Austrade
  • the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei
  • 20 Canadian diplomatic missions under Australia’s Consular Sharing Agreement with Canada.

Australians also had access to notarial services through the department’s state and territory offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart and Perth, and through our passport offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Australians had access to advice on safety and security conditions in other countries through the smartraveller website. The site’s subscription service enabled Australians to receive emails each time a travel advisory was updated.

Photo - See caption below for description
Staff working in the Crisis Centre during the coordination of the Australian Government’s responses to the Pacific tsunami and the Sumatra earthquake. Both natural disasters occurred within 24 hours of each other in late September 2009.

Our 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) and consular duty officers on call in Canberra complemented Australia’s extensive overseas consular network. The CEC provided a direct and permanently-staffed point of contact for Australians overseas in need of emergency consular assistance. It received more than 44 000 telephone calls in 2009–10, up from 37 000 the previous year.

Our network of Regional Consular Officers bolstered our ability to respond quickly and effectively to consular incidents in areas where our consular presence is less concentrated. We reviewed the network in 2009–10 and retained Regional Consular Officers in Mexico City, Abu Dhabi and Pretoria, while relocating one from Santiago to London to enhance our coverage across Europe and the Middle East.

We continued our close practical cooperation with Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to enhance delivery of consular services, including in areas where we have no resident consular representation.

Assisting Australians overseas

In 2009–10, consular staff provided 186 235 consular services compared with 194 523 in 2008–09, a decrease of 4.45 per cent. There was also a slight decrease (0.86 per cent) in demand for notarial services from 166 662 in 2008–09 to 165 240. These reflect the magnitude of major overseas incidents in the previous year, particularly the volume of whereabouts inquiries following airport closures and a nightclub fire in Thailand.

More broadly, we saw growing public expectations of the range and quality of the consular services the department should provide. We sought to manage expectations through consistent public messages, including that Australians need to abide by local laws overseas and take out travel insurance appropriate to their travel plans.

The media continued to give wide coverage to consular cases. To respond to the high level of interest, we issued 760 sets of media talking points on consular matters in 2009–10, down from 911 in 2008–09. The decrease was a result of efforts to streamline production of talking points.

Our consular caseload continued to be diverse, complex and challenging (see Table 9 on page 162). This reflected Australians’ propensity to travel widely, often to geographically remote or politically unstable locations where the department is not represented, and to engage in a broad range of activities including adventure tourism.

We coordinated the whole-of-government response to the crash of an Airlines PNG aircraft near Kokoda on 11 August 2009 in which nine Australians were killed. We arranged for an Australian Federal Police team to travel to the crash site, recover the bodies and undertake Disaster Victim Identification processing. We then secured the assistance of the Department of Defence to repatriate the bodies to Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, in accordance with the wishes of the victims’ families, using an Australian Defence Force aircraft.

We led a whole-of-government response to the kidnapping of an Australian in Somalia. We deployed our Regional Consular Officer based in Pretoria, along with consular staff from Canberra and elsewhere, to Nairobi a number of times over a fifteen-month period to coordinate and cooperate with local authorities and other stakeholders until the victim’s release.

Our consular staff provided assistance and support to 1410 Australians arrested or imprisoned overseas. We ensured arrested Australians had access to legal assistance. Our consular staff attended their trials to ensure they did not suffer discrimination by local police or courts.

Consular staff also made regular visits to Australians in custody awaiting trial, or serving sentences, to ensure they were treated properly and had access to adequate food and medical care. We kept their families closely updated on their welfare.

We made extensive efforts to ensure a fair trial in China for Mr Stern Hu, a Rio Tinto, Australia executive, on charges of accepting bribes and violating commercial secrets. We made repeated representations through diplomatic channels to the Chinese authorities seeking access for our consular staff to the whole trial, including the closed parts dealing with commercial secrets.

We continued to devote considerable resources to locating Australians overseas where their families held well-founded concerns for their welfare. In 2009–10, consular staff undertook 9310 missing persons’ enquiries overseas. This was significantly fewer than the previous year, which had seen an unusually high number of enquiries (17 966) as a result of events such as airport closures and a nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand; and terror attacks in Mumbai, India.

We continued to liaise with other countries on consular assistance and cooperation, and strengthened our ability to influence consular issues affecting Australians in those areas. In particular, we engaged with China and Vietnam in our annual senior officials talks, held in Beijing in August and Hanoi in November 2009. We negotiated and finalised a memorandum of understanding with the Government of the United Arab Emirates in February 2010 and an Australia–Indonesia Consular Arrangement with the Government of Indonesia in March 2010. The latter will increase our ability to help Australians in trouble in Indonesia, by setting out timeframes for their arrest and detention, and establishing regular consultations on consular matters.

Responding to and preparing for consular crises

The department led whole-of-government responses to a number of incidents arising from natural disasters, political crises, tragic accidents and large international sporting events:

  • Plane crash in Indian Ocean—July 2009
  • Earthquake in China—July 2009
  • Hotel bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia—July 2009
  • Tent collapse at a music festival in Slovakia—July 2009
  • Train crash in Croatia—July 2009
  • Plane crash in Iran—July 2009
  • Bus crash in Russia—July 2009
  • Plane crash at Kokoda, Papua New Guinea—July 2009
  • Plane crash in Koh Samui, Thailand—August 2009
  • Ferry sinking in Tonga—August 2009
  • Cruise ship attacked on the Amazon—August 2009
  • Earthquake in West Java, Indonesia—September 2009
  • Aircraft hijack in Mexico—September 2009
  • Floods in north-west Turkey—September 2009
  • Floods in the Philippines—September 2009
  • Typhoon Ketsana in Vietnam—September 2009
  • Earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and the South Pacific—September 2009
  • Earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia—September 2009
  • Ferry sinking in India—October 2009
  • Mudslides in Italy—October 2009
  • Train collision in northern India—October 2009
  • Explosions at Helena Bazaar, Peshawar, Pakistan—October 2009
  • Explosions in Rawalpindi, Pakistan—November 2009
  • Ferry collision in Guangzhou—November 2009
  • Bus crash in Samoa—November 2009
  • Train derailment in Russia—November 2009
  • Air services disruption, Noumea, New Caledonia—December 2009
  • Fire in Medan, Indonesia—December 2009
  • Explosion in Perm, Russia—December 2009
  • Train crash in The Hague, the Netherlands—December 2009
  • Cyclone Mick in Fiji—December 2009
  • Cargo vessel sinking off Lebanon—December 2009
  • Ferry sinking in the Philippines—December 2009
  • Plane crash in Bengun, Papua New Guinea—December 2009
  • Earthquake in Haiti—January 2010
  • Flooding in Machu Picchu, Peru—January 2010
  • Jeep crash in Phuket, Thailand—January 2010
  • Earthquake in Solomon Islands—January 2010
  • Plane crash in Lebanon—January 2010
  • Cyclone Oli in French Polynesia—February 2010
  • Cyclone Pat in the Cook Islands—February 2010
  • Bomb blast in Pune, India—February 2010
  • Train crash in Belgium—February 2010
  • Bus crash in Peru—February 2010
  • Earthquake in Chile—March 2010
  • Cyclone Tomas in Fiji—March 2010
  • Bus crash in New Zealand—March 2010
  • Explosions in Moscow, Russia—March 2010
  • Civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan—April 2010
  • Plane accident in Indonesia—April 2010
  • Train accident in Italy—April 2010
  • Civil unrest and protests in Bangkok, Thailand—April 2010
  • Earthquake in Qinghai, China—April 2010
  • Explosions in Burma during New Year Festival—April 2010
  • Volcanic ash and disruptions to air travel, Europe—April 2010
  • Bomb blast outside IPL cricket match, Bangalore, India—April 2010
  • Plane crash in Tripoli, Libya—May 2010
  • Plane crash in Afghanistan—May 2010
  • Plane crash in southern India—May 2010
  • Cruise ship fire off Norway—May 2010
  • Train crash in India—May 2010
  • Gaza Flotilla incident off Israel—May 2010
  • Plane crash in Congo—June 2010
  • Boat accident in Thailand—June 2010

We activated the Crisis Centre to coordinate whole-of-government responses to assist Australians affected by the bombings of two hotels in Jakarta in July 2009; an air crash near Kokoda in Papua New Guinea in August 2009; an earthquake and tsunami affecting Samoa and Tonga in September 2009; an earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, in September 2009; and civil unrest in Thailand in April 2010.

Consular Contingency Plans for our overseas network and countries of accreditation ensure our capacity to deliver effective and efficient responses to a range of risk scenarios. In 2009–10, together with the Department of Defence, we conducted Contingency Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) visits to several overseas posts to refine and update their contingency planning for a range of risks. CPATs visited India in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games; South Africa in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup; the United Arab Emirates; Vietnam; and the Middle East (Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel).

We drew up specific contingency plans for a number of large-scale events overseas which were attended by Australians. In doing this, we worked closely with Football Federation Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee on contingency planning for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. We engaged with the Indian authorities and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association as part of Australia’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October 2010. Our work included consular planning for the large number of Australians expected to attend the games and work with India on security measures for athletes, officials and spectators. The March 2010 Hockey World Cup in New Delhi, attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, provided a useful test of India’s games preparations. In May 2010, we established a Commonwealth Games Task Force to coordinate whole-of-government preparations for the Games.

We worked with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other agencies on contingency planning for the 2010 Anzac Day events in Gallipoli and Villers-Bretonneux.

Based on our contingency planning and risk assessments, we sent Consular Response Teams to Turkey for 2010 Anzac Day commemorations and to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to manage the anticipated increase in requests for consular assistance.

We implemented further measures under the four-year Consular Enhancement Program announced in the 2006–07 Budget, including running new training courses on contingency planning and crisis management and response. We rolled-out new consular emergency communications equipment to support our Regional Consular Officers and Emergency Response Teams so they can establish consular operations in remote areas within short time frames and independent of local infrastructure. We now have consular emergency communications kits ready for deployment at short notice and a growing number of staff trained to use them.

Keeping Australians informed

Our travel advisories helped Australians make well-informed decisions about their travel by providing clear, current and practical information on safety and security overseas. We continued to liaise closely with the National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) and our consular partners (United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand) to ensure travel advice was supported by the best available threat information. We reissued 740 travel advisories in 2009–10.

We published new travel bulletins for major issues, events and incidents including the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Anzac Day in Turkey, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and disruptions caused to air travel in Europe by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland. Our new Partying Overseas travel bulletin attracted immediate media interest. We regularly updated travel bulletins on the H1N1 virus and Avian Influenza.

The smartraveller website recorded 27.9 million page-views in 2009–10, an increase from 26.6 million in 2008–09. The smartraveller travel advice subscription service had 69 991 subscribers at 30 June 2010 (70 124 at 30 June 2009). The service enabled users to receive updated travel advisories and bulletins by email as soon as they were posted on the smartraveller website. Public awareness of our online registration service grew but the percentage of travellers registering was still low compared with the total number travelling. The Consular Assistance Information System project, which will deliver a new registration system, continued to experience delays due to software development issues.

The automated smartraveller telephone service, which received 16 292 calls in 2009–10, made travel advice available to Australians without internet access or with visual impairment.

We undertook research to evaluate the success of the second phase of the smartraveller campaign which concluded in 2009–10 and also to prepare for the third phase, starting in 2010–11. This research will enable us to target specific segments of the travelling population more effectively.

We refreshed many of our consular publications which provide targeted information and hints for specific segments of the travelling community (for example Travelling Seniors, Travelling Women and Travelling Parents), or advice on specific concerns or situations (for example Travelling Well, Death Overseas, When Someone is Missing Overseas, and Sexual Assault Overseas). We also developed an insurance card to encourage Australians to take out comprehensive travel insurance before travelling overseas. As part of our preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we developed a wallet-size consular card, containing key information and emergency contacts for Australians at the event. As in past years, we also produced consular cards for Anzac Day.

In August 2009, we produced a flyer promoting safe travel messages to young Australians travelling overseas for end-of-school celebrations. We encouraged them to register online, take out travel insurance and subscribe online for travel updates. We also promoted safe travel messages through print and electronic media in the lead up to the Christmas holiday season. A flyer targeting business travellers was well received by national and state peak industry and business organisations and disseminated to their members and posted on their websites.

We continued our close relationship with the travel industry to promote travel advice and other smartraveller messages, including important information on insurance and health issues. We convened two meetings of the Smartraveller Consultative Group to communicate safety and security messages to travel agents/operators, airlines and Australian travellers. We reinforced safe travel messages to travel industry contacts at events arranged by our Smartraveller Consultative Group partners. We briefed members of the Australian Society of Travel Writers on the smartraveller campaign, resulting in a number of articles in electronic travel bulletins. We also took part in travel expos and travel industry events to increase public and travel industry awareness of smartraveller, especially its safety and security messages.

As part of our ongoing outreach program, we reinforced strong anti-drug trafficking messages to a group of around 600 young Vietnamese Australians at a ‘Don’t do drugs’ community forum in Brisbane in November.

Continuing support for the Charter for Safe Travel—membership of which grew to 2891 by 30 June 2010 from 2662 a year earlier—reflected the travel industry’s continued satisfaction with the quality of our information and services to travellers. We used travel expos and other industry events to disseminate smartraveller safe travel messages directly to the Australian travelling public. Feedback through focus groups and other market research mechanisms was generally positive and provided a useful foundation for further refinements to outreach programs.

Media activities throughout 2009–10 continued a strong advertising presence in non-English speaking media, especially newspapers. In addition to this we actively promoted the smartraveller website in magazines and through digital advertising. In consultation with industry partners we developed flyers and brochures for Australian business travellers to encourage them to play a greater role in their travel preparations, particularly in relation to safety and security issues.

Personal Profile:

Photo - See caption below for description
Tracey Wunder

Tracey Wunder

One of DFAT’s most experienced consular officers, Tracey Wunder was awarded the Public Service Medal for the provision of consular assistance to the victims and families of the 2002 Bali bombings. She also provided consular assistance during many other crises, including the September 11 terrorist attacks, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2006 Lebanon crisis, the 2007 Garuda plane crash, the Thai airport closures in 2008, and the 2010 Red Shirt protests in Bangkok.

As the First Secretary and Consul at the Australian embassy in Bangkok, Tracey oversees consular services to Australians at our busiest consular post. In 2009, our Bangkok Embassy and our Honorary Consuls in Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai assisted 143 Australians hospitalised in Thailand, 19 who suffered assault, including sexual assault, 54 who were arrested, 19 serving prison sentences and 301 seeking welfare assistance. They also supported the families of 97 Australians who died in Thailand that year.

“As a consular officer I feel privileged to do the job I do. To be able to assist Australians in what may be the most difficult times of their lives gives a real sense of pride and personal achievement. Consular work can be stressful and emotionally taxing, but being witness to the personal strength, human spirit, and mateship demonstrated by our fellow Australians in the face of real tragedy makes it all worthwhile.”

 

2010 FIFA World Cup

Photo - See caption below for description
The joint DFAT and Defence Contingency Planning and Assistance Team (CPAT) inspecting the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, the venue for Australia’s opening match against Germany on 13 June 2010. The CPAT visited South Africa in February to help refine the Australian High Commission in Pretoria’s consular planning for the World Cup.

Australians were one of the largest groups of supporters in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Australians purchased over 43 000 tickets to World Cup matches—including the three matches in June 2010 in which the Socceroos played.

DFAT, through the high commission in Pretoria, put in place unprecedented measures to assist Australians during the tournament, including:

  • two ‘mobile consular embassies’ providing assistance at each of the Socceroos matches and at other major locations where Australian fans congregated
  • the establishment of World Cup Facebook and Twitter pages, to deliver consular information in a timely and accessible way
  • the deployment of additional consular staff to assist Australians in need
  • the establishment of a 24-hour consular hotline for Australians in South Africa.

Prepared over a period of nine months, the high commission’s extensive consular contingency plan was underpinned by close engagement with South African authorities, Australian tour groups and Football Federation Australia in the lead up to and during the event. We also ensured effective interdepartmental cooperation on World Cup consular issues by coordinating the efforts of other Commonwealth departments and agencies, both in South Africa and Australia.

Together with our consular contingency planning, we provided Australian fans with up-to-date travel advice and smartraveller information to help make their World Cup experience safe. We also published a wallet-size World Cup consular card and a dedicated travel bulletin for Australian fans travelling to South Africa. Significantly, the figures for South Africa in the Smartraveller Online Register of Australians Overseas more than doubled in the weeks leading up to the tournament, indicating that DFAT’s pre-World Cup outreach was successful.

Consular Service Charter

We used a range of mechanisms to obtain and monitor feedback on the consular assistance and travel advice we provided to the Australian public in accordance with our Consular Service Charter.

During 2009–10, the department received 764 letters and emails (through the consular feedback form on the smartraveller website). Of these 35 commented positively on services provided in specific consular cases and on our smartraveller services. Some correspondents sought clarification of travel advisories or provided suggestions for improving advice to the public. The remaining letters and emails sought general consular or notarial information. This feedback contributed to improvements we made to our consular services.

Outlook

The number of Australians travelling and living overseas will almost certainly continue to increase. This growth will continue to build demand for consular services, as will the increasing popularity of travel to remote and dangerous locations. The increasing number of Australians travelling to major international events, including sporting events, will test the department’s capacity to provide consular services for very large concentrations of Australians overseas.

To address these challenges we will focus on providing timely and comprehensive public information for Australians travelling overseas; educating them on the limits to consular services; and strengthening our consular preparedness and response capacity.

Public information and risk mitigation

We will use the results of research we have commissioned on traveller behaviour, needs and expectations to inform the development of phase III of the smartraveller campaign. In our public messages, we will emphasise the importance of considered preparation, travel insurance and avoiding risky behaviour and dangerous destinations. We will promote public understanding of realistic expectations of consular services. We will continue strategically-targeted outreach activities, including to community organisations and through industry stakeholders.

Consolidating the enabling environment

We will implement the final two years of the Consular Enhancement Program, by providing specialised training courses in core consular skills as well as crisis preparedness, management and response. We will continue work on a new consular management information system to underpin our delivery of services to travelling Australians, including an improved registration system.

We will consolidate consular cooperation with other countries and will host annual consular consultations with China, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

Contingency planning and preparedness

We will implement reforms to our crisis management processes and Crisis Centre staffing arrangements, to enhance our ability to respond to future crises and serious incidents overseas and to meet the increasing demands on the departmental crisis management systems. We will undertake Contingency Planning Assessment Team visits to overseas posts, to test and refine their plans to respond to incidents that affect the safety and welfare of Australians.

Personal Profile:

Photo - See caption below for description
Betty Sutinen (second from right), with consular officers (Tony Feeney, Robyn Barlow and Matt Skelly) at the launch of the mobile consular vans during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Betty Sutinen

As the Regional Consular Officer in Pretoria, Betty Sutinen is responsible for the consular workload for South Africa and its six other countries of accreditation. She also provides consular support to our high commissions in Abuja, Accra, Nairobi and Port Louis, and to our embassy in Harare. Her role in Africa is to enhance consular contacts in those countries where Australia does not have in-country representation. She also identifies and mentors honorary consuls in an increasing number of African countries.

Betty has fostered relationships with consular staff in like-minded embassies and high commissions throughout Africa. She meets with companies and African officials to discuss local emergency services that can be offered to Australians in need. She also meets with Australian companies to discuss their consular contingency planning.

Betty was heavily involved in consular contingency planning and services for the FIFA Football World Cup 2010 in South Africa. She staffed the consular mobile vans at all the Australian football matches.

“Consular work in Africa is interesting and challenging. You never know what your day will bring—whether you will be travelling to one of our missions to help in a crisis, visiting an Australian who has been arrested in another country, or dealing with a kidnapping case.”

TABLE 9. CONSULAR SERVICES PROVIDED TO AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLERS

 
2005–06
2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
Australian resident departures1
5 000 860
5 300 830
5 878 445
6 009 033
6 938 303
Cases of Australians hospitalised given general welfare and guidance
819
1 093
1 260
1 480
1 467
Cases of Australians evacuated to another location for medical purposes
82
67
46
32
29
Cases of next of kin of Australians who died overseas given guidance or assistance with disposal of remains
811
912
994
1 038
1 143
Cases of Australians having difficulty arranging their own return to Australia given guidance and assistance
68
5 209
51
39
29
Inquiries made about Australians overseas who could not be contacted by next of kin
8 457
13 025
13 598
17 966
9 3102
Cases of Australians arrested overseas
752
934
970
1 019
1 086
Cases of Australians in prison overseas (as at 30 June)
291
188
211
223
2523
Cases of Australians given general welfare and guidance
6 225
12 385
8 405
5 992
7 6794
Total number of cases involving Australians in difficulty
17 505
33 927
25 987
27 861
20 995
Notarial acts5
115 418
135 347
159 005
166 662
165 240
Total number of cases of Australians provided with consular assistance
132 923
169 274
184 992
194 523
186 235
Australians in financial difficulty who were lent public funds to cover immediate needs (travellers emergency loans)
393
301
384
334
286

1 This figure draws on ABS data and includes permanent departures, long-term departures and short-term departures of Australian residents. It includes Australian citizens (5 837 542 ) and other residents (1 100 761)who reside in Australia on a permanent or temporary basis.
2 This figure includes inter alia whereabouts inquiries in crises in the South Pacific (1124), Chile (889) and Indonesia (549).
3 The total number of cases of Australians imprisoned during 2009–10 was 324. Two figures are provided for Australians in prison. ‘Cases of Australians in prison overseas’ is the total number of cases assisted throughout 2009–10. Some of these cases may have been resolved during that year. The ‘number of Australians in prison at 30 June’ is a ‘snapshot’ of the Australian overseas prisoner population on 30 June 2010.
4 Welfare and guidance figure includes the following sub-categories: assaults (231), theft (1115), welfare of children (167) and other welfare matters (6166).
5 Figure includes notarial acts performed by overseas posts, in Canberra and state and territory offices in Australia.

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