Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

Do New Zealanders get free maternity care in Australia? Do we get free midwife services and child delivery services in Australia? Do we receive the newborn supplement?

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:

What costs Medicare Australia covers

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:

  • free treatment and accommodation for public patients in a public hospital
  • free or subsidized treatment from health care professionals, including obstetricians, doctors, and eligible midwives
  • 75% of the Medicare schedule fee if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital – this does not include hospital accommodation, theatre fees, or medicines
  • But you won’t be able to choose your doctor or midwife. 

Medicare Saftey Nets

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.

If you’re part of a family or couple you can combine your costs by registering as a family and registering for Medicare Safety 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. 

Costs involved in pregnancy and birth in Australia

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.


Australian Government benefits

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:

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. 

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

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.

Newborn Upfront Payment

A lump sum payment of $595 per child, which is not taxable.

Newborn Supplement

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.

Multiple children

If you have twins or more you may receive the following for each child:

  • Newborn Upfront Payment, as a lump sum of $595, and
  • Newborn Supplement, at a maximum rate of $1,785.42 even if you already have other children

This also applies if you:

  • adopt more than 1 child as part of the same adoption process, or
  • have more than 1 child younger than 1 come into your or your partner’s care as part of the same process

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’re eligible for payments

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.


Pregnant in Australia as a New Zealander

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. 

Talk to your employer about leave

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. 

Childbirth in Australia

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.


Is your baby an Australian Citizen or New Zealand Citizen?

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:

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. 

Bringing up a child in Australia as a New Zealander

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 – No Plunket!

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. 

Who can I talk to?

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.

From pregnancy to preschool, guidance, and reassurance, every step of the way. Contact Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Free call 7 days a week – 1800 882 436

Other Resources

Here is some useful info you will want to read about having a baby in Australia: It covers before your baby is born, when your baby is born, after your baby is born, and tools and information. is also supported by the Australia Government. It provides ad-free parenting videos, articles, and apps backed by Australian experts.

You might be interested in…

The below posts might interest you:

Still, got unanswered questions?

If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please write a comment below and I’ll research the answer for you. Please note, if the answer to your question is in the content above, I will not reply. Sorry, I just get too many questions these days and I can’t keep up.

Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!


  1. Sam

    February 20, 2024 at 11:14 pm

    Hi JJ,
    Thank you so much for providing the information.
    I was planning to move to Australia with my wife. We are both NZ citizens.
    I resigned from my job in New Zealand in December thinking I will be moving to Australia soon. My wife is still working in New Zealand. We found out couple of days before that my wife is pregnant.
    I am so worried now, knowing we can’t receive parental leave in Australia since we are not living and working there from last 12 months.
    I understand that we will be considered Non-protected SCV holders and we will be eligible for some family assistance payments under the same conditions as Australian citizens. These payments include: Family Tax Benefit (FTB) including FTB Part A, the Newborn Supplement and Newborn Upfront Payment.
    What do you think is the best idea?

    Thanks and we will appreciate any suggestion.

    • JJ Smith

      February 22, 2024 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Sam,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I was pregnant when I moved to Australia. I come from a large family (6 siblings) and always wanted to return to NZ to have my baby (36 weeks pregnant), so my family could meet my child before returning to Australia. We were able to stay with family in NZ, so the only direct cost was flights. My husband flew to NZ for a turning at 38 weeks, which ended up being the day our son born.
      Therefore I got paid parental leave from the IRD. We moved back to Australia when my son was 2 weeks old. This worked for us, but might not work for you.
      If your wife doesn’t want to return to NZ to have the baby, you can apply for parental leave pay and may be given it, but it’s not guaranteed. I do know friends who have received it before the two years.
      My brother and sister in-law have a one year old son, they live in Sydney, and they both got parental leave and dad pay through their employers.
      I hope the above helps. I can understand how this change in circumstance can be worrying.

  2. Eve

    November 4, 2023 at 10:04 am

    Hi JJ, what an amazing resource you have created here, thank you for your work.

    I am due in May, we were planning on moving to AU in March, but now I am completely torn trying to choose what is better, to have baby in NZ and then move to AU shortly after. Or move in March and have baby in AU and thus simplify the move?

    Keen to hear about you experience traveling back and forth pregnant and with a newborn.


    • JJ Smith

      November 6, 2023 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Eve,
      Thank you for your comment and compliment.
      I ended up traveling back to NZ when I was almost 36 weeks so I could have the baby in NZ. Mainly so my family could meet my child. I come from a large family (6 siblings) and my husband had 2 children in NZ, so this worked for us. Then we traveled back when Charles was a month old.
      Traveling between NZ and Australia was no problem pregnant and then with a newborn. You have to travel before you are 36 weeks. Breastfeeding really helps clear the little ones blocked ears, so he traveled great.
      It is quite a hard decision to make and I recommend going with your gut. It would definitely simplify the move if you gave birth in Australia. The health care system is very much like NZ and I found the Brisbane hospital amazing.
      Hope the above helps.

  3. Elise

    September 6, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks so much for all the great info!
    We’re planning on moving to Australia in the next few months, which will be while I am pregnant with our second baby. It’ll mean I give birth in Australia, as we don’t plan to go back and forth. I am currently working full time in NZ, and by the time we move I will be eligible for the 26wks paid parental leave from NZ Govt (working for an NZ employer and working an average of 10+ hrs/week for 26weeks of the year prior to my due date). I can’t see any requirement to be based in NZ when receiving paid parental leave (just to have a prior employment connection to NZ and be paying tax in NZ). I’m wary though that there’ll be some rule I haven’t uncovered, and wondered if you’d heard of any similar cases where people were paid parental leave from NZ govt while living in Australia ??
    Me and hubby are NZ citizens, hubby is also AU citizen (by descent) but he plans to work when baby born and I’ll be the stay-at-home parent so we’re not expecting to be eligible for Australian paid parental leave ?!

    • JJ Smith

      September 7, 2023 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Elise,
      Thank you for your message.
      I can’t really advise you on what to do. I’ve just done some research and can’t see anywhere that you have to be living in Australia, but you might come into a problem if your current address when you apply is in Australia.
      When is your baby’s due date?
      If I was you, I would apply for paid parental leave when you stop working, as this would be considered the beginning of your parental leave, and then your address would still be in New Zealand. Just because you cannot be certain if the IRD are going to be OK paying you while you are living in Australia without confirming this with them.
      If you are still months away from giving birth, it may be worth calling the IRD and talking to them about your situation.
      Hope the above helps.

  4. Marcelo

    July 24, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    Hi JJ,
    My name is Marcelo and my wife and I are looking at moving to Australia in the next few months. We are also planning to start a family, which brings me to my question. I’ve read that as kiwis we need to wait 2 years to receive parental leave payments but I’ve been reading that since the 1st of July 2023 kiwis on a subclass 444 visa are exempt from this waiting period and we will be entitled to parental leave payments right away. Could you please shed some light on this?
    Thank you

    • JJ Smith

      July 28, 2023 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Marcelo,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I’ve spent the day researching the newly arrived wait periods and unfortunately, they haven’t changed. You need to have lived in Australia for 2 years before you can get parental leave pay.
      However, in saying that, I still recommend you try applying, as I have heard of friends getting parental leave pay before this time frame.
      Good luck with your move to Australia.

  5. Justine

    June 30, 2022 at 6:18 am


    How about if I am only a NZ Permanent Resident and will have an AU work visa? Will I be eligible for free birth in AU? Thank you.

  6. Charlie

    June 25, 2022 at 10:34 am

    Thanks so much JJ for the robust information regarding entitlements that New Zealanders get when having a baby in Australia, I think I now understand what we are eligible for from the government.
    However, I am feeling worried (bordering on anxious) about the actual birth and was wondering if you have any suggestions for birth preparation courses? We won’t be long in the country before baby is due so something online may be best so I can get on top of my nerves before we move.

    • JJ Smith

      June 30, 2022 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I completely understand how you feel, as I was pregnant when I moved to Australia. I wasn’t keen on the antenatal courses, so I did a hypnobirthing course (almost 12 years ago).
      I recommend checking out Relaxed Birthing’s online course. Recently a friend of mine did it and loved it. She said it’s more realistic than hypnobirthing and has found the breathing techniques invaluable in general life, not just the birth:
      Also check out Pregnancy Birth and Baby, it’s a great resource for parents in Australia:
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

  7. Rhiannon

    January 26, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Hi JJ,

    sorry having a mini meltdown and getting lost in information.
    I moved here November 2012.
    I am due in June 2022 with my Australian Born / Citizen partner.
    I get paid Parental Leave with work, but an going round in circles with GOVT paid Maternity Leave.
    I think from what I have read I am not eligible for Govt PML ?? is that correct.

    • JJ Smith

      February 21, 2022 at 2:16 am

      Hi Rihannon,
      Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      It is quite confusing and there are a few different payments.
      The easiest way to get a definite answer is to call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby free call 7 days a week on 1800 882 436. They will be able answer any and all questions you have.
      However, rest assured you are eligible for government support. You are most likely on a Non-protected SCV, but on the below link you can check if you on a Protected SCV. You can claim any of the following payments:
      – Family Tax Benefit
      – Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement
      – Single Income Family Supplement
      – Child Care Subsidy
      – Double Orphan Pension
      – Health Care Card.
      You may also be able to claim:
      – Low Income Health Care Card
      – Foster Child Health Care Card
      – Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
      – Parental Leave Pay
      – Dad and Partner Pay
      – Assistance for Isolated Children.
      This page has a good run through of all payments and how to claim:
      Good luck with your birth. I’m sure you will be well looked after.

  8. Jean

    October 11, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    My husband and I are both NZ citizens and moving to Australia once the borders open. I’m due to give birth in early June, so we probably won’t have been living and working there for more than 6 months by the time the baby is due. Will Medicare still help cover our costs? I read that we’d have had to have been there for more than 6 months to access Medicare….

    • JJ Smith

      October 19, 2021 at 4:05 am

      Hi Jean,
      Thanks for your comment.
      As soon as you have a document with your Australian address on it you are eligible to apply for Medicare:
      Generally speaking, in order to be entitled to Medicare a person must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, New Zealanders who are residing in Australia are also eligible for Medicare and can be issued with a Medicare card upon presentation of documentation proving residence. Since New Zealand citizens who are lawfully residing in Australia are entitled to Medicare, they must also pay the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge (if their income is above the base income threshold and they do not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover).
      Non-protected SCV holders are eligible for all family assistance payments under the same conditions as Australian citizens. These payments include: Family Tax Benefit (FTB) including FTB Part A, FTB Part B, the Newborn Supplement and Newborn Upfront Payment as well as the Energy Supplement; Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate; Double Orphan Pension; and Parental Leave Pay (including Dad and Partner Pay).
      If they are renting privately and receiving FTB, they may be eligible for Rent Assistance.
      I have never heard of a New Zealander not getting Medicare support when having a baby in OZ.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

  9. Megan

    February 17, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Hi JJ, first I’d like to say thank you so much for creating the movingtoaustralia website, it has so much information my partner and I have been searching for! I have a specific question I’m hoping to get help with, as we’re a bit of a weird case. My partner and I live in New Zealand.
    I’m a citizen of the USA and I hold a permanent resident visa in New Zealand. My partner Ben is a New Zealand citizen.
    We’re planning a move to Melbourne in July/August 2021. I’ve been admitted into Melbourne Business School’s 2-year full time MBA program and will arrive on a student visa. Ben will arrive as a non-protected SCV holder.
    We’re planning on starting our family before my graduation date in October 2023. My question is regarding our maternity coverage eligibility. I’ve read different things about whether I am eligible for Medicare as a New Zealand permanent resident (rather than citizen) who is in Australia on a student visa. I know I am covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement but I believe this is only for in-patient public hospital emergency care rather than maternity services (I wonder if birth would be covered as an emergency under the RHCA?)
    We know that as a New Zealand citizen, Ben is eligible to enroll in Medicare. If he is eligible and I am not, would maternity services be covered, as it is for a child of a parent who is enrolled in Medicare?
    Thanks heaps for your help, we really appreciate it!

    • JJ Smith

      February 17, 2021 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Megan,
      Thank you for your email.
      This is a new one for me… This is the website that is going to help you:
      Unfortunately from everything I’ve read I cannot give you a yes or no answer. There is the option for a video call on the website and I recommend you give it a go.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Sorry I couldn’t be more help.


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