There are many consumer protection and support services available for international students. This includes services provided directly by institutions as well as those provided by a range of state, territory and federal government departments.

Students from all over the world come to Melbourne to study. The City of Melbourne and governmental agencies provide a range of services, advice and support for international students, among them are:

Consumer Protection

Australian has a strong consumer protection framework to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students in Australia. The Australian Consumer Law includes a national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services.

Visit australia.gov.au or www.consumerlaw.gov.au to find the relevant government agency for where you are living and studying.

Overseas Students Ombudsman

The Overseas Students Ombudsman investigates complaints that overseas students have with private education and training in Australia.

The Ombudsman’s services are free, independent and impartial. You can find out more about this service on their website: www.ombudsman.gov.au or specifically for VICTORIA state is – www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Tuition Protection Service

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist you if your institution is unable to fully deliver your course of study. The TPS may also assist you if you have withdrawn from, or not started, your course and are eligible for a refund of tuition fees and the institution has not paid them.

The TPS will ensure that you are able to either:

  • Complete your studies in another course or with another institution, or
  • Receive a refund of your unspent tuition fees.

Under the Tuition Protection Service international students have a number of rights and obligations. For more information visit the website Tuition Protection Service in www.tps.gov.au

Study Melbourne Student Centre

It is a Victorian Government initiative that supports international students like:

  • A welcoming place where you can study with free facilities such as Wi-Fi, printing and computers.
  • Interpreting services for free.
  • General information and help with accommodation, health, employment and legal problems.
  • Help international students to access services in the community.
  • Help to find the right service for students in crisis.
  • Free monthly events and activities.
  • Free legal advice about workplace rights.

To find out more information visit the website: www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au

Student Welcome Desk

It is located at Travellers Information Service, International Arrivals Hall, Ground Floor, Terminal 2, Melbourne Airport.

It’s open from 7am to midnight, seven days a week and is a one-stop-shop for international students when they first arrive in Melbourne. Staff are available to support students and provide them with a free Student Welcome Pack with essential information for living and studying in Melbourne.

Events, programs and activities

The City of Melbourne is involved in a range of events and programs specifically for international students. These include workshops, tours, performances, volunteer opportunities, the Lord Mayor’s Student Welcome and the Melbourne International Student Conference.
To find out more, subscribe to our newsletter or follow them on Facebook.

Insider Guide to Melbourne

The City of Melbourne and Insider Guides have produced a guide to help international students settle into the Melbourne way of life. The guide was written by students for students and answers questions about what to do and where to go in Melbourne.

Download the guide in the next button or pick up a copy from your educational institution, Federation Square Visitor Centre or the Melbourne Library Service.

If you are experiencing any problems with your accommodation, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for assistance.

Disability support

Australia has laws that protect individuals from discrimination in many areas of public life, including education. A person with a disability has just as much right to study as any other student. This means that institutions cannot:

  • Refuse admission on the basis of disability.
  • Accept a student with a disability on less favourable terms than other students (for example, asking for higher fees).
  • Deny or limit access to a student with a disability (for example, not allowing access to excursions, or having inaccessible student common rooms or lecture facilities).

Find out more about disability rights in Australia at www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_right

Childcare

While many larger institutions have childcare facilities with trained staff, there are also a wide variety of private and not-for-profit childcare centres available around Australia. The Australian government provides financial assistance to help parents with childcare costs. International students who receive direct financial assistance from the government, through a government scholarship, may be eligible to receive the child care benefit. To find out if you are eligible for child care financial assistance, read more at the website: www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/benefits-and-payments/families

Institution support services

Student support forms a large part of Australia’s education system. Institutions provide specialist services to help international students adjust to life and study in Australia, and to achieve their goals. This includes services such as:

  • Language and academic support.
  • Designated international student advisers.
  • On-arrival reception and orientation programs.
  • Childcare, health and counselling.
  • Student accommodation.
  • Employment services.
  • Prayer and worships rooms.
  • Banking, shopping and food outlets.
  • Clubs, societies, sport and fitness facilities.

Refuge of Hope

Refuge of Hope is a not for profit organisation that was born out of a desire to serve and assist migrant, refugees and international students from Latin America in Melbourne. This includes student services such as:

  • Referral services
  • Welcoming Activities
  • Food Donation
  • Buddy Program
  • General community events and activities
  • Latin American Students Skill Development Program
  • May also be able to provide emergency and crisis support

Find out more information visit the website:  www.refugeofhope.org.au

Other support services

Some other support services that may be useful to know while you are studying in Australia are: Emergency matters

  • Contact details– 000
  • Service details– Life threatening situations, such as a car crash or a fire.

Local police – non urgent matters

  • Contact details– Call 131 444 (everywhere except Victoria). In Victoria you need to call your local police station (consult your local Telephone Directory)
  • Service details– Police attendance for non-urgent matters.

Lifeline

  • Contact details– 13 11 14
  • Service details– Lifeline provides crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services across Australia. These can include stresses from work, family or society and physical and mental wellbeing. Lifeline offers support services by phone or through their online chat available on their website www.lifeline.org.au.

Kids Helpline

  • Contact details– 1800 551 800
  • Service details– If you’re between 5 and 25 and you’re feeling depressed, worried, sad, angry or confused about things like your studies personal relationships, Kids Helpline offers free 24 hour, 7 day telephone counselling support (anonymous if you prefer).

Poison Information Centre

  • Contact details– 131 126
  • Service details– Provides advice on the management, assessment and treatment of poisonous products including non-prescription pharmaceuticals, household and industrial chemicals, and plant and animal venom.

Sexual Assault counselling service

  • Contact details– Search online for ‘rape crisis centre’ in your home state
  • Service details– If you, or anyone you know, has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, call one of the state-based sexual assault counselling services. These provide a free 24 hours, 7-day a week telephone counselling service (anonymous if you prefer). Many are connected to hospitals or government health departments to help you if the assault has left you with injuries.