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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> International Relations >> Services to the Australian community

The principal international services provided to the Australian community are consular and passport services provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The department provides 24-hour consular and passport services to Australians travelling overseas and their families in Australia through its network of overseas missions and honorary consulates, a consular operations centre and consular cooperation arrangements with other countries. These services include assisting Australians who are hospitalised, imprisoned or require welfare assistance overseas; helping family members when Australian travellers die or go missing; and, when required, coordinating evacuations from international trouble spots. Consular services are now available to Australians at 160 points world-wide. Through media briefings and regularly updated travel advisories, Australian travellers are kept informed about international developments, including potential trouble spots, and the extent to which the Australian Government can assist them. The department is also responsible for implementing bilateral consular agreements with Canada and China.

The department is responsible for providing secure travel documents to eligible Australians under the authority of the Passports Act 1938. Passport services are provided through passport offices located in Australia’s major cities and diplomatic and consular missions overseas. Access to passport information is available through the Australian Passport Information Service, which operates seven days a week including after hours, and interview services are provided through Australia Post and its network of 1,600 outlets throughout Australia. While Australia is already a world leader in providing secure passport services, the department is working to improve the service still further.

In 2000-01 an estimated 3.6 million Australians travelled abroad, and DFAT issued 1.088 million passports (graph 3.3). During 2000-01 the department provided consular assistance to 25,000 Australians in difficulty and notarial services to a further 42,000 Australians.

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