Aussie basics

We have compiled a little bit of information to help you understand the basics of life in Australia.

image of australian currency

Australian currency

Australian currency uses the decimal system of dollar and cents.  The Australian dollar ($) is a national currency and accepted across all states and territories. The Australian dollar comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations.


If you plan to study in Australia for any length of time, you may wish to open an Australian bank account. In Australia, most income including salary or wages and government benefits is paid directly into a bank account. The Australian Bankers Association provides helpful independent information to assist you choose a bank account that best suits your needs.

Choosing a bank

You may decide to open a bank account in Australia so that you can pay for your items using Australian dollars and minimise foreign currency exchange fees on daily transactions.

You can choose to open an account with a credit union or one of the larger banks. Credit unions are member-owned; they tend to be smaller and more community-oriented than banks.

There are a number of banking institutions to choose from in Australia:

Bankwest and UniBank both have branches located on the Perth Campus.

Opening a bank account

Before you open a bank account or start part-time work, you should apply for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

You can open a bank account once you have arrived in Australia by visiting a local bank or credit union branch with the following documents:

  • your passport plus one other form of identification
  • funds to make an initial deposit.

Transferring money from overseas

You can transfer money from an overseas account into your Australian account using a money transfer service such as Western Union.

Automatic teller Machines (ATMs)

ATM is the Australian word for an automatic banking machine, where you can withdraw cash, deposit money or check your account balance at any time of day. There are ATMs conveniently located on the Perth Campus, representing Bankwest, UniBank and ANZ.

image of australain plug and powerpoint


Australia uses a 240AC power supply with three flat pin plugs on appliances. Students from most of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America should have appliances that work on the same voltage as Australia – you will only need a power adaptor for your appliances to work. Students from North America and Japan will need to use a voltage converter.