Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent is urging locals travelling overseas to exercise greater caution and to take out appropriate travel insurance.

The plea comes amid a rise in the number of Australian travellers seeking consular assistance.

“Safety should remain the number one priority for Australians travelling overseas. There are loved ones and friends depending on your safe return,” Mr Broadbent said.

“Unfortunately, more and more Australians are seeking consular assistance overseas after landing themselves in hot water.

“The Department of  Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Consular State of Play report for 2015-16 shows increasing numbers of Australian tourists are being arrested, jailed, assaulted, hospitalised and robbed overseas.”

Mr Broadbent said the number of people arrested while overseas had soared 23 per cent from 1256 in 2014-15 to 1551 in 2015-16, while the number of Australians imprisoned while travelling went up almost five per cent in the same period to 391 people.

“There is little doubt that some Australian travellers are not taking into consideration the laws and customs of the countries in which they are travelling,” he said.

Mr Broadbent said many travellers were also venturing overseas without adequate insurance, putting themselves and their families at physical and financial risk.

“According to a recent insurance survey, eight per cent of Australians travelled overseas without travel insurance in 2015-16, making almost 850,000 uninsured trips,” he said.

“While people need to look after themselves overseas and be aware of the customs and acceptable behaviours of the countries in which they are travelling, they must also make sure they are fully insured for any situations.

“Organising travel insurance is an essential part of preparing for your overseas trip. If you are uninsured, you or your family are personally liable for covering any medical or other costs resulting from unexpected incidents or accidents.”

Mr Broadbent said there were a number of services available to Australians travelling overseas through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller website.

“The site has useful advice on various countries’ local laws, entry and exit requirements and health issues, and an indicative rating of the security situation in particular countries,” he said.

Link: smartraveller.gov.au