Australian consular strategy unveiled – August 2017
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has launched the Australia Government’s Consular Strategy 2017-19, which will guide Australia’s consular priorities for the next three years and “ensure our service maintains world’s best practice”.
Ms Bishop said that each year, consular officers in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assisted around 16,000 Australians injured, assaulted, robbed, hospitalised, arrested or detained overseas – prioritising those in serious distress – while the 24/7 Consular Emergency Centre takes more than 66,000 calls per year. Each day consular officers managed around 1600 cases.
“The Consular Strategy 2017-2019 will further modernise Australia’s consular service, seek to maximise public engagement with Smartraveller, explore ways to expand victim support services, and maintain a focus on mental health.
“As part of the Strategy, the Government will roll out the Crisis Hub, a consolidated digital portal to communicate timely information about overseas crises to the Australian public.
“The Crisis Hub will support DFAT’s existing travel advisory system which issued 823 updates for 174 destinations last year.
“This Strategy was developed after extensive consultation with the public, stakeholders and our global consular network, as we sought feedback and ideas to shape the future of our consular service.
“The Government continues to look for innovative ways to reach out to Australian travellers, from schoolies to retirees, to promote a culture of responsible travel.
“I encourage all Australians to visit the Smartraveller website to better prepare themselves ahead of their next overseas journey and familiarise themselves with the Consular Services Charter to understand what the Government can and cannot do if something goes wrong overseas.”