Free public health care in Victoria for people fleeing the Israel-Palestine conflict

Victorian Refugee Health Network LogoThe Australian government has announced that Palestinians and Israelis have been granted ‘temporary visas’ to Australia. The Victorian Refugee Health Network has been coordinating with the refugee, community and health sector to help coordinate services and identify and respond to health issues and emerging needs for this group of arrivals in Victoria.

Victoria currently receives around one-third of all refugees and people seeking asylum entering Australia. This is more than any other state or territory.

Currently, around 4,000 – 6,000 refugees settle in Victoria each year. An estimated 11,000 – 20,000 people seeking asylum live in the Victorian community on bridging visas, whilst awaiting determination of their refugee status.

Many refugees and people seeking asylum have complex physical and mental health issues which can result from:

  • poor or interrupted access to healthcare, prolonged deprivation in extreme living conditions and marginalisation
  • inconsistent or restricted eligibility for Commonwealth safety net supports for people seeking asylum (such as Medicare, income support, work rights and casework)
  • social determinants of health including financial vulnerability, destitution, homelessness, job insecurity and risk of exploitation
  • mental health impacts of war, torture, trauma, persecution, loss of and/or separation from family, human rights abuses and prolonged uncertainty.

Despite these challenges, refugee and asylum seeker communities demonstrate tremendous strength and resilience in overcoming adversity to start a new life in Victoria.

Free public health care in Victoria for people fleeing the Israel-Palestine conflict

People fleeing the Israel-Palestine conflict who arrived in Australia on a visa subclass 600 (Visitor visa) will have free access to health services in Victoria. This is consistent with existing asylum seeker and refugee health policies.

Free public healthcare in Victoria for people fleeing the Israel-Palestine conflict ← Click

Other Resources

In Victoria, there are many communities who are understandably distressed by these international events. Please find below some resources that are available and may be suitable during this time:

  • The Network has been collating information on health resources for new arrivals who do not have access to Medicare. Please find a link to the document here.
  • Asylum Seeker Health Services can also be found on the Networks website here.
  • Free Public Health Care in Victoria for people fleeing the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
  • Please refer to the Department of Health’s guidance that states “people fleeing the Israel-Palestine conflict who arrived in Australia on a visa subclass 600 (Visitor visa) will have free access to health services in Victoria”. Please find a link to the official document here.
  • The above advice is consistent with the Department of Health’s asylum seeker policy regarding ‘Hospital access for people seeking asylum’ which applies for this cohort. More information can be found here.
  • Foundation House Direct ServicesFoundation House provides counselling service support, for more information please contact the Intake team. 
  • Foundation House Additional Supports: Foundation House has a number of additional services that are available for people who are currently impacted by the situation. Please see below a list of the services that are currently being offered:
    • Foundation House can provide psychoeducation sessions at any events or sessions happening in the community.
    • Foundation House can provide debriefing and/or supervision sessions for organisations and/or groups of health care professionals who are impacted by the situation and require support.
    • Please reach out to Foundation House’s Middle East Crisis Response Team for more information at 
  • Witness to War Hotline: Witness to War is a national multilingual telephone hotline for people affected by overseas conflicts.
  • Find My Family: Restoring Family Links: Help with tracing families and finding missing loved ones.  This service run by Red Cross is free of charge and confidential.
  • Refugee Legal Hotline: provides legal assistance for people impacted by the Israel-Gaza crisis, including people from Lebanon and surrounding countries. Call Please call 03 9413 0107 for legal support.

If you, your community or other organisations have any further queries or would like to share more resources related to health for recent arrivals, please contact


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