The cost of having a baby will vary depending on whether you give birth in the public or private system. In Australia, pregnancy care in a public hospital or birth centre is free because it is covered by Medicare, which covers New Zealanders on an SCV, Australian citizens, and some visitors to Australia. And we can receive some Government payments.
You receive antenatal care from your GP, midwife, or obstetrician in Australia, and you will have very similar options for your child’s birth as in New Zealand.
When you are researching and planning your pregnancy care and the birth of your baby, remember as an SCV holder you have the same rights as an Australian citizen, who is covered by Medicare Australia or your private health insurance.
Editors note: I was pregnant when I moved to Australia. I was travelling back in New Zealand regularly, and planned to have my baby NZ, so I was clost to my family. I recieved most of my pregnancy and birthcare in Australia.
However, on the few occasions that I did need help in Australia I found my GP easy to register with and get good advice from. I had to take my son to the hospital when he was just over 1 month old and I was so impressed by the service and care I recieved in Brisbane.
In this post you will find information on:
In Australia, Medicare does cover all or some of your costs. Medicare can cover some or all of your expenses during your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. Medicare covers:
Medicare Safety Nets can help to lower your out of pocket medical costs for out of hospital services.
When you spend over a certain amount in a calendar year, you’ll get you a higher amount back from Medicare. So if you need to see a doctor or get tests regularly, or are part of a family you could save money with Medicare Saftey Nets.
When your baby is born, you can also add them to your Medicare Safety Net family. You can do this when you enrol your baby in Medicare. You do this after the birth of your baby.
So under Medicare, you get free care and delivery in the public health system, but you won’t be able to choose your doctor or midwife.
In the private system, you can choose your doctor, but you will need to pay for the care or take out private health insurance. Medicare and your health fund will cover some of the costs of a private hospital stay, but you may still have to pay extra fees (known as ‘out-of-pocket’ costs).
Be sure to check that your private health insurance covers maternity care and if there is a waiting time before you can claim.
It can be difficult to understand the costs of different care options. Talk to your doctor, hospital, or health fund if you are unsure, or call Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby.
Families are able to access health care and financial benefits including Medicare, newborn payments, child care payments, and parental leave pay.
You can read about the Australian Government payments here: http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/medicare-and-other-benefits.
Some Government payments have a newly arrived resident’s waiting period you need to live in Australia for before you can claim the payments. You can check these in my Australia Visa post, under the newly arrived residents’ waiting period.
You can enroll in Medicare Australia soon after you arrive in Australia. Find out how to apply, what you’re entitled to, and the costs of healthcare in my Medicare Australia post.
The Baby Bonus is no longer available. It has been replaced by Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement, which is a lump sum and an increase to your Family Tax Benefit Part A payment when you start caring for a baby or child that’s recently come into your care. Kiwis on an SCV are eligible for this.
A lump sum payment of $595 per child, which is not taxable.
An ongoing payment for up to 13 weeks, which is not taxable.
The amount you receive depends on how many children you have and your family’s income. The maximum amount you can receive for your first child is $1,785.42. For subsequent children, the maximum amount is $596.05.
If you’re eligible for the base rate or more of FTB Part A, you’ll receive the maximum rate of Newborn Supplement. If you’re eligible for less than the base rate of FTB Part A, you’ll receive a reduced rate of Newborn Supplement.
If you have twins or more you may receive the following for each child:
This also applies if you:
If you’re also eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you can receive Parental Leave Pay for 1 child and Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for other children.
Check if you can get payments. You can submit a claim for some payments as early as 3 months before your baby’s due date through Centrelink.
Parental Leave Pay helps eligible working parents to take time off to care for a newborn or recently adopted child. This is available for up to 18 weeks. There is a 2-year waiting period for SCV holders.
Dad and Partner Pay helps eligible working dads or partners take time off work for up to 2 weeks. This applies when they’re caring for a newborn or recently adopted child. There is a 2-year waiting period for SCV holders.
Family Tax Benefit (FTB) is a 2-part payment to help with the cost of raising children. There is a no waiting period for SCV holders.
FTB may include a one-off lump sum of Newborn Upfront Payment. FTB may also include Newborn Supplement, which is an increase to your FTB for 13 weeks.
I highly recommend the Australia Government website Pregnancy, Birth and Baby’s. Go there for all your questions.
There is great general information on having a healthy pregnancy, keeping fit, you and your baby’s wellbeing, etc. It also contains all the info on checkups, screenings and scans, if you have complications during pregnancy and if things go wrong.
You should discuss your plans for taking leave with your employer before your baby is born. You should give them written notice 10 weeks before you plan to start your leave.
If you plan to get Parental Leave Pay, you need to tell your employer, as they may need to provide the Parental Leave Pay funds to you.
Use the Supporting Working Parents website to find out about your rights in the workplace, whether while you’re pregnant, during parental leave, or on returning to the workplace.
As a New Zealander on an SCV you have the same decisions to make as an Australian citizen.
There is a lot to consider when planning the birth of your baby. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby’s have information on everything you need to know about the actual birth, including your options, what happens during labour, and what to expect immediately after.
They also have information on what will happen to your baby and the tests that are usually done, plus what can happen if there are complications during birth.
Remember you have the same rights as an Australian citizen covered by either Medicare Australia or private health insurance.
Your baby will not be an Australian citizen if you are both in Australia on a non-protected SCV.
If you were born in Australia, and at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident when you were born, you are an Australian citizen by birth.
Your baby will be able to apply for Australian citizenship if they live in Australia until they are age 10: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizenship/certificate/get-a-certificate#Overview.
New Zealanders with a child born in Australia, who is not an Australian citizen at birth, should apply for New Zealand citizenship by descent and a passport for the child as soon as they are born. Do not wait until you have a family emergency requiring you to travel overseas. New Zealand citizenship by descent and passport applications take up to 30 working days to be processed and costs AU$407. Urgent requests take up to 10 working days and cost AU$622.
Life is pretty similar in Australia to NZ for bringing up children. The culture, pre-schools and kindergartens, schooling, and extracurricular activities are similarly organised and available. However, the advantage Australia has over NZ is the climate. More life is lived outside, which is only positive.
Sport is encouraged and supported by schools and the government. Even some schools have surfing as a subject. Sport is one of the main reasons why some families move to Australia as a family. It gives a talented sporty child a lot more opportunities for world class training and competitions.
You will meet families, kids, and people through the same channels as NZ. Antenatal classes, pre-school activities, and free things to do in your city.
Here you can find info and advice on bringing up a baby and child in Australia:
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is funded by the Australian Government and operated by Healthdirect Australia. This is a fantastic resource for New Zealanders living in Australia with a family.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby will help answer any and all questions you have after you arrive in Australia. They offer a fantastic helpline. I called them to ask a question on behalf of a visitor and they were amazing.
Here is some useful info you will want to read about having a baby in Australia: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/having-baby. It covers , , , and tools and information.
Raisingchildren.net.au is also supported by the Australia Government. It provides ad-free parenting videos, articles, and apps backed by Australian experts.
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