Settlement Guide

What are the requirements when moving interstate?

Source: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

Each year, almost 400 00 Australians relocate across the country. A checklist can make your interstate move easier.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people who were born overseas are more likely to move than people born in Australia. Settlement in a new country is a significant process, so moving interstate can feel like settling twice.

Each state has different laws and regulations, which means that a lot of the things you had to organise when you first move to Australia will need to be organised again.

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Start by creating a moving checklist

Your moving checklist should include registering your change of address with government departments, banks and other service providers you use. Most changes can easily be done online.

“Firstly and probably most obviously, there is a change of address. People need to change their address not just for their friends, but for their bank and maybe with Centrelink, if they are receiving some sort of payment. If they are on a particular visa, that may require that the Immigration Department is informed of the new address. Medicare needs to know of your current address,” explains Laurie Nowell, Public affairs manager at settlement services provider AMES Australia.

“It’s also worth thinking about leaving a forwarding address from your old residence as well, so your mail catches up with you.”

Research schools

Australia has a national curriculum, regardless of where you live or what school system you are in. But certificates, subjects and school terms vary so it’s worth doing your research before the move so you’re better prepared.

A young couple move into their new home and start to unpack
Getty Images/sturti
Getty Images/sturti

Update your car registration and driver’s licence

Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding car registration and vehicle licences. Different documentation is required to complete the process. And fees vary.

“You also need to change driver's licence and most states offer you about three months to do that. Speaking of transport, road rules are different in each state. Victoria is particularly unique because of trams, the number of trams on the roads, so it's worth finding out about particular local road rules. Also. public transport systems are different, ticketing is different, and some places are better served with public transport than others,” says Nowell.

Update your address on the electoral roll

Voting is compulsory in Australia. Every time you move, you must update your address on the electoral roll or your name could be removed and you will be unable to vote.

Inform the Australian Electoral Commission of your move and make sure you’re enrolled to vote in your new state. You can be fined if you don’t enroll when you’re eligible to.

Parents and children unloading boxes from car to the new house
Getty Images
Getty Images

Don’t bring items you’re not allowed to interstate

Australia has some of the strictest quarantine laws in the world, and these apply when moving interstate.

It’s recommended to leave behind plants, animal products and agricultural equipment, which may contain contaminants. You can find out more on the Australian Interstate Quarantine website.

Plan a “moving budget”

Pallavi Thakkar arrived from India and settled in Sydney, but recently moved to Melbourne for a better career opportunity. She advises having a “moving budget” to avoid any financial surprises.

"Since it was a big move from one state to another, it was important to have a budget in mind when it comes to moving. We spent around 10 000$ on this moving altogether," she says.

It’s also important to remember that insurance premium and service providers can differ from state to state.

Couple checking their own digital devices on the social networks on the sofa with all the boxes to unpack at the new home.
Getty Images/xavierarnau
Getty Images/xavierarnau

Get help

Thakkar says she found social media platforms useful to get practical advice and connect with her Indian cultural community: "Basically, I posted my query on Facebook and people were nice enough to come out with lots of suggestions. And it was most important for us that we are close to the city so going to very far suburbs was ruled out."

Apart from community forums, Laurie Nowell says settlement services providers and migrant resource centres can also assist: “The government has a translation and interpretation service; it's available and free to people. And if you approach local migrant resource centres or organisations like AMES in Victoria, they can help you with these issues.”

To get started, use this checklist provided by the Australian government.