Brisbane’s Airport has recently been recognised as the world’s most efficient and customer-focused privatised airport by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It is located approximately 20 minutes’ drive (13 km) from Brisbane’s CBD.
Getting from the airport:
The Airtrain operates from 0500 to 2100 hours 7 days a week; they depart every 15 minutes during peak hours and it takes approximately 22 minutes from the airport to the Brisbane CBD. Stations are conveniently located near most CBD accommodation and attractions. For online bookings visit www.airtrain.com.au.
All Brisbane taxis have standard taxi meters. A fare from the airport to Brisbane CBD is approximately A$30 plus a A$3.60 fee for departing taxis only. A few recommended taxi numbers are:
– Black and White Cabs: 131 008
– Yellow Cab: 131 924
You can request a ride from Uber from either the Domestic or the International terminal of Brisbane Airport. Just request your Uber once you have exited the terminal, and your driver will meet you at the pick–up area. A typical UberX (low cost ride) to Brisbane’s CBD costs A$30 – 38 and a typical UberBLACK ride (premium ride) to Brisbane’s central business district costs A$43-56. For more information on Uber please see here.
Most Brisbane hotels provide coach transfers to and from the airport. Just ask the hotel representative when making your reservation.
ConXion Airport Transfers offer one way or return ‘door-to-door’ coach services from the Airport to/from Brisbane city.
Brisbane is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and does not operate Daylight Savings times.
Climate and Clothing
The Meeting will be held during Australia’s Winter. During this time, the weather will be at its lowest average temperature.
The temperature range during this time of year ranges from 10-21 ºC (50-70 ºF)
Generally Australians are informal dressers. A warm jacket is recommended for evenings as the temperature can drop in the evening.
Please refer to the information on the social program for dress at social functions organised as part of the Meeting.
Business Hours and Shopping
Banks and post offices generally open from 0930 – 1600 hours Monday to Friday. Business office hours are 0900 – 1700 hours Monday to Friday. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available 24 hours in many locations.
Brisbane shops are typically open from 0900 to 1700 hours during the week with late night shopping in the CBD until 2100 hours on Friday nights. On Saturday, most shops open from 0900 to 1600 hours. Weekend trading hours are usually from 0900 to 1700 hours on Saturdays and 1000 to 1700 hours on Sundays.
Banking and Currency
Decimal currency is used in Australia with the dollar as the basic unit (100 cents = A$1). Notes come in A$100, A$50, A$20, A$10 and A$5 denominations. Coins come in A$2, A$1 50c, 20c, 10c, and 5c denominations.
Currency exchange facilities are available in most banks, hotels and airports and operate normal business hours. Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and shops, the most widely used being Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Some surcharges may apply for using a credit card.
Eating Out and Tipping
Bistros, restaurants, cafes and coffee shops offer varied menus, prices and decor. Local specialties such as seafood and Australian wines are worth trying. At some restaurants you can keep the liquor bill down by taking your own wine or beer. These are called “BYO” restaurants, an abbreviation for “bring your own”.
Tipping is not as widespread or regulated in Australia as it is in other parts of the world. Tipping is at your prerogative; a reward for service. A gratuity of about 10% is usual in restaurants if good service is received. Tips for taxis are regarded as optional.
Electrical current is 240/250V, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from that in many countries, so you will need an adaptor. If your appliances are 110V, check if there is a 110/240V switch. If not, you will need a voltage converter. Universal outlets for 240V or 110V shavers are usually found in leading hotels.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) / Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS)
GST or Goods and Services Tax is a 10% tax applied to most items in Australia.
The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) enables travellers departing Australia to claim a refund for the GST and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) paid on goods purchased in Australia. For detailed information on the TRS please refer to the website of the Australian Border Force.
Registration fees do not include insurance. It is strongly recommended that at the time you register for the Conference and book your travel you take out an insurance policy of your choice. The policy should include:
- Loss of fees/deposit through cancellation of your participation in the Conference or through cancellation of the Conference,
- Loss of international/domestic air fares through cancellation for any reason,
- Loss of tour monies through cancellation for any reason including airline or related services strikes within Australia,
- Failure to utilise tours or pre booked arrangements due to airline delay,
- Force Majeure or any other reason,
- Medical expenses (including sickness and accident cover),
- Loss or damage to personal property,
- Additional expenses and repatriation should travel arrangements have to be altered,
- Medical expenses.
The Conference Managers cannot take any responsibility for any participant failing to arrange their own insurance. This insurance is to be purchased in your country of origin.
The official language for the Conference is English.
Passport and Immigration (VISA) and Quarantine
All visitors to Australia must have a valid visa to travel to and enter Australia. Welcome letters can be requested following completion of Conference registration and payment by emailing the Conference Managers (contact details in footer of the website). For VISA information please refer to the website of the Department of Home Affairs.
Please note – it is strongly recommended that Australian visa applications are lodged at least two months prior to departure from your point of origin.
Also, for International participants, to obtain an Australian visa an Invitation Letter is not required. Once you have registered and paid the registration fees in full then your confirmation of registration or tax invoices for payment of registration fees is sufficient to lodge with your visa application.
Types of Visas:
There are a number of factors to consider for delegates to determine the correct visa to apply for. Factors include country issuing passport, country of origin, role at eth conference (paid staff member or visitor/delegate). The following list identifies the most common visas that will be applied for by delegates, but organisers are encouraged to visit the Home Affairs website for further information and all visas:
Subclass 600 Business Visitor – For business visitors staying up to 3 months
Subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) – Approved visitors from the following countries can apply for a subclass 601 and have no visa fees (small admin charge may apply) – Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vatican City.
Subclass 651 eVisitor – Approved visitors from the following countries can apply for a subclass 601 and have no visa fees (small admin charge may apply) – Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
Note: Event staff working on the event may have to apply for a Subclass 400 Visa. This includes international staff working on or facilitating the conference, and this role directly relates to their core employment, even if the delivery is in Australia and their employer is an international country.
Recommended Application timeframe:
The International Event Coordinator Network (IECN) within the Department of Home Affairs advises that event participants should apply for their visa’s at least 8 weeks prior to their intended dates of travel. This facilitates applicants that may be required to undertake additional applications requirements such as medical checks and biometric collection. Late applications may not permit the applicant to respond to any requests for additional information or attend biometric appointments, and will not provide an opportunity to rectify any visa application problems or discrepancies. Ensuring timely lodgement of visa applications mitigates or reduces the rate of visa applications requiring escalation or visa processing to be expedited.
Letter of Invitation:
All international delegates applying for a visa will require a letter of invitation from the event organisers, and in some cases a receipt of paid registration or confirmation of attendance.
Confirmation of Attendance / Registration:
All international delegates applying for a visa will require a confirmation of attendance, receipt of registration payment or invoice for payment to submit when applying for a visa.
Scholarship Recipients – Letter of Support
Visa applications may require records of financial statements or funds to return to country of origin for applicants. To assist the applications of delegates receiving scholarships to attend a conference, a letter of support is vital to identify information regarding the support provided, scholarship criteria and rational for the individuals receiving the scholarships.
Sharing of Information:
Event organisers are encouraged to provide the details of their event participants/delegates on the IECN biodata collection sheet (attached). This spreadsheet permits the IECN to disseminate this information quickly and efficiently to the Australian Visa Offices responsible for processing the visa applications for the conference. This information assists to identify conference delegates and their visa applications, and assists to streamline visa processing. Organisers are to complete the bio-data collection sheet as event participants are invited, or register for the conference, and then email it to the IECN at email@example.com periodically.
It should be noted that in accordance with Australia’s Privacy Act 1988, any information an event organiser or participant provides to the IECN will only be used to facilitate visa processing with the relevant Australian visa office overseas or processing areas in Australia.
Payment of the visa application charge (VAC) is a legislative requirement that must be met by all applicants in order to lodge a valid visa application. A request for a nil VAC for event participants would need to be submitted to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs for their consideration. The request would be subject to a high level of government consultation and approval process, and would need to be considered as part of a whole of government funding approach within the broader context of the Australian Government’s annual Federal Budget.
Requiring an Australian Contact Person:
All visa applications currently require an Australian based contact person to be listed in the application. Home Affairs suggest identifying a person who will be directly involved in the operations of the conference who is Australian based. This person will not be responsible for the individual applications, merely a validation point for the application.
The IECN is available to assist organisers where possible with visa related matters for event participants. It may be of assistance to identify common problems associated with visa applications:
- Incomplete and undocumented visa applications – Applicants must ensure that their visa applications are complete and that all necessary supporting evidence or documents are uploaded with the application at time of lodgement.
- Payment of the visa application charge (VAC) – As mentioned previously, payment of the visa application charge (VAC) is a legislative requirement that must be met by all applicants in order to lodge a valid visa application. Non-payment of the VAC renders the visa application invalid, and the application cannot be processed.
- The VAC for the Visitor visa (subclass 600) may be waived for an applicant who applies in the course of acting as a representative of a foreign government and provides the department with supporting evidence. In most cases, such persons will identify themselves at time of application by presenting a diplomatic, or official, passport, however applicants can also provide other types of supporting evidence, such as a third person note of support from their government.
Biometrics requirement – some applicants will be required to attend an Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) or an Australian Biometrics Collection Centre (ABCC) when applying:
- for a visa that is part of the biometrics program
- from a country that is part of our biometrics program.
See https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/biometrics for more information.
Australia is free from many plant and animal diseases prevalent in other countries. Very strict quarantine rules apply to the import of animals and plants which cannot be brought into the country without prior application. Animal and plant products are also restricted.
For more information please refer to the ‘Travelling to Australia section on the website of the Department of Agriculture.
Planning your Travel
Because of time changes and jet lag we suggest you arrive in Australia a few days prior to the commencement of the Conference. This will enable you to relax and familiarise yourself with your hotel and its surrounds before the start of the Conference.
Australia introduced the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 in 2001. The latest updates were published in 2014. The Conference Managers comply with such legislation which is designed to protect the right of the individual to privacy of their information. Information collected in respect of proposed participation in any aspect of the Conference will be only used for the purposes of planning and conduct of the Conference and may also be provided to the organising body or to organisers of future events. Information may also be used for advice of future meetings in a related area. See here for more information on Privacy Laws in Australia.
It is also usual to produce a ‘Delegate List’ of attendees at the Conference and to include the individual’s details in such a list. Consent for publication of the individual’s information may be withheld when completing the Registration Form for the Conference. Individuals are also entitled to access the information held by written application to the Conference Managers.