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UNITED STATES NAVY INFORMATION OPERATIONS DETATCHMENT
Contact your sponsor early and start asking questions well in advance of your transfer. We can provide the
latest information and get you started!
INTRODUCTION:Alice Springs is 580 meters above sea level and is located 1529km from Adelaide and 1490 km from Darwin and has an approximate population of 28,000. As a desert town, Alice Springs experiences long dry summers with the occasional rainstorm. Temperatures in the summer months can reach highs of 45C. Common sense along with the precautions of sunblock, hats and eye protection are all important. At the height of the summer months, early morning or late afternoon may be more comfortable for some people than the winter months with temperatures dropping below zero at night and averaging 10-18C during the day.
BRING YOUR UNIFORMS! We are restricted from wearing our military uniforms while stationed in Alice Springs, except on special occasions. You will wear civilian clothes at work and will be given a civilian clothing allowance, but there are some occasions that will require you to be in uniform such as reenlistment and promotion ceremonies and other special occasions. You may also find yourself on a TAD trip back to the states where you will be required to be in uniform, so all personnel are required to bring a full seabag.
There are four crews that essentially work 4 on 4 off (12 hr watches).
Alice Springs offers several primary and secondary public and private education schools. Most of the private schools are operated by Christian church organizations providing education in the context of a religious direction.
Private school enrollment may be difficult depending on availability so it is recommended to contact the school before you PCS. Membership in the sponsoring church is not a requirement; however, church member families may be given preference. Tuition for private schools in most cases is fully funded.
Housing is distributed throughout the town and intermingled with the local population. Your family size will determine the type of home assigned. There are several different styles of homes ranging from two bedroom flats to five bedroom homes. All of the homes are fully furnished to include major appliances. Window treatments are installed and there is carpeting, wood, or tile flooring in the living areas and bedrooms. All master bedrooms are equipped with a queen-size bed and all other bedrooms include a single bed. You are permitted to ship your own bed with your HHG’s for your master bedroom if you choose, however it is recommended that you ship as little as your own furniture as possible since your HHG weight allowance will be reduced. You may want to consider bringing pictures, decorations, small appliances, kitchenware, bedding, towels and patio furniture.. To accommodate American style electrical devices, electrical transformers are provided in the homes as built-in units for the kitchen and individual units that can be used for any room. The transformers output with an American-style outlet.
The tap water, while very heavy in minerals, is safe to drink. However, some people do not like the taste of it and choose to use bottled or filtered water instead.
In-Town Housing (ITH) will provide you with a survival kit to use while you wait for your household goods to arrive. If you are single there is a Sailor survival kit available for the length of your tour. If you require this kit, talk to your sponsor.
The Northern Territory is the only state which allows left-handed vehicles to be imported, registered, and insured. If you own a vehicle, you should consider shipping it. There are several factors listed below that you should be aware of when making a determination to ship or not. Scroll down for specific information about motorcycles. Cost of insuring left-hand drive vehicles, especially “unique to the U.S. only” models are at times expensive to insure. Make, model, and parts availability are factored in to the cost of the vehicle.
U.S. manufactured vehicles (GM, Ford, Chrysler etc.) may have extremely limited parts availability in Australia.
Shipping a replacement part would probably be the only option and the APO has weight and size restrictions that must be followed. Factory warranties may not cover your vehicle outside of the U.S.
U.S. full size pickup trucks and SUVs commonly have larger tires than trucks used in Australia. Finding a replacement tyre can be difficult and if found, is very expensive. Also, fuel costs are much higher than in the U.S. and these vehicles will normally be expensive to drive on a daily basis.
Vehicles that generally do not have problems with parts availability or major problems with Northern territory vehicle inspections are made by Toyota, Mazda, Jeep, Nissan, Daewoo, Kia, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Honda and others.
Check with your sponsor and for parts and mechanical service availability for your vehicle.
Vehicles bought locally can be expensive and unable to be imported into the U.S. At the end of your tour, it may be difficult to sell your vehicle. If you ship your vehicle and it becomes unfit for shipping out of the country ( ex.
Catastrophic accident), you will be subject to an import duty assessed to all vehicles not assembled in Australia, which is approximately $16,000 for new cars.
If you plan to drive in Alice Springs, you have to obtain an Australian NT driver’s license within 90 days of arrival. Minimum driving age is 16 and a half. To obtain a driver’s license, you will need a valid U.S. license. The cost of the license is $24.00 AUD.
Australian insurance companies base their rates on your record of claims for the last 5 years. Bring a letter from your U.S. insurer describing your record of claims or claim-free driving. Without such a statement, you will be placed in a high-risk category and comprehensive coverage can be expensive. Insurance rates increase periodically.
Registration costs for private vehicles average about $500 which includes compulsory third-party insurance. (TPI covers only injury to other party and does not cover damages to other car.) Annual registration is required for every vehicle, which may or may not include an annual inspection. A 30 day, restricted registration is available for lefthanded vehicles to allow time for modification of lights, mirrors, etc.
To register your car, you need:
1. A current NT license or proof of residency.
2. Proof of ownership or receipt of person selling vehicle.
3. New vehicles and vehicles transferring to the NT must have a compliance check done at the MVR. Bring inspection report.
4. If importing your vehicle, provide importation papers and a copy of the SOFA. (Site provides a copy of the SOFA.)
INTERNET SERVICES:Most ISPs in the Alice Springs use ADSL. The most popular being Telstra, however there are many other providers available as well and are usually recommended over Telstra. Some other ISPs include TPG, Dodo, and Internode.
Digital free-to-air television is available to every home. The free-to-air stations cover most of the popular TV shows. Be aware the TV broadcast in Australia is DVB-T not the U.S. standard ATSC.
Alice Springs has satellite television which is provided by AUSTAR (www.austar.com.au). The usual channels can be found (including Discovery, News, Sports, Movies, Nickelodeon etc) and for an additional fee you can get channels in HD.
AFN is available as well. Talk to your sponsor and let them know you’re interested. An AFN representative will provide you with the necessary equipment and set it up for you as well.
Government primary and secondary schools request voluntary contributions to the school councils, to provide a variety of facilities and activities. While uniforms are not compulsory in public schools, most primary schools do have a uniform and children are expected to wear it. Uniforms can be purchased locally through school clothing shops or retail outlets, and second hand uniforms are available through school clothing pools.
Most private schools are church-sponsored, although membership in the sponsoring church is not a requirement for admission. It can be difficult to enrol children in private schools, as waiting lists may be long. While you may place you child’s name on a waiting list, or pre-enroll, students are not accepted until after the interview process.
Some of the private schools provide educational facilities from kindergarten through 12th grade, but private school fees can be expensive. All private schools in Alice Springs are co-educational and uniforms are required.
SPECIAL EDUCATION:Education in Alice Springs is geared toward mainstream students; therefore opportunities for children with learning disabilities or for gifted children are somewhat limited. However there are some schools that do have dedicated classes with extra qualified teachers and aides to help those with learning disabilities. Parents contemplating a transfer to NIOD Alice Springs are encouraged to discuss their children’s special needs directly with potential schools or contact the NT Education Department to determine if the town has programs that will accommodate any special assistance your child may require.
There is a variety of schools to choose from such as, University of Maryland University College (UMUC), American Military University (AMU) and Embry-Riddle. While serving overseas, students can take a single course or many courses leading to a certificate, associates or bachelors etc.
Due to the remoteness of Alice Springs, few face-to-face courses are available. Distance Education provides many courses and a very flexible schedule with on-line courses. Occasionally courses are available from Charles Darwin University.
Day care facilities in Alice Springs are very limited. There are day care facilities in town but they are all normally full with waiting lists ranging from 1 to 3 months. Also, all of the day care facilities only provide services for normal working hours during the week. Services after these hours, during the weekend, and on Aussie holidays are normally not available.
Medical service is available to all American employees and their eligible dependents. Comprehensive and ongoing primary medical care services are at both the In-Town medical clinic and at the Facility medical clinic. The extent of the services provided is dependent on the training and experience of the Facility Medical Officer assigned to the Facility at the time; this may include care in the areas of general internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics/gynaecology and all other areas of family practice. Emergency medical care, including after-hours care, is provided to an extent considering available resources. The clinics offer walk-in service or you may setup an appointment.
If the In-Town or Facility clinic refers you to a health provider in town, you MUST contact TRICARE prior to making/going to any appointments outside the clinic. Once TRCARE gets authorization, they will contact you with the okay to make the appointment and will likely provide contact information for specific approved health providers in town.
Once you make the appointment, let TRICARE know when and where so they can send a guarantee of payment to the provider. Failure to do so may result in you having to pay the bill.
Also, if you get blood drawn or any other pathological testing from the In-Town or Facility clinics that need to go to a lab, ensure the clinic puts the TRICARE billing address (TRICARE, International SOS, PO Box 4561, Sydney, NSW, 2001) on the referral from to the lab. This way, any late notices will go directly to TRICARE instead of you.
Dental services are covered by MetLife. The sponsor should ensure their dependents’ information is current in DEERS by visiting the AFPC website as well as checking with metlife.com/tricare to verify enrollments, benefits, and coverage. If you have Other Heath Insurance (OHI), please remember to file with them first, then TRICARE.
If you travel out of your designated TRICARE region (Australia) for more than 30 days, you need to transfer your enrolment to the region in which you are travelling. You are only covered for urgent, emergent, and medical necessary care while out of the area. Do not wait to get back to the U.S, for example to set up a routine appointment.
It will not be covered. For prescriptions, you pay out of pocket and file a claim when you get back. Active duty members must use a TRICARE listed dentist and notify TRICARE International SOS after making any dental appointments. This is to ensure the plan covers the desired dental procedure. The dental facility will file the charge and claims with TRICARE and are reimbursed those charges. As of February 2013, the only TRICARE listed dental office in Alice Springs is Alice Springs Dental Surgery, located at 2 Larapinta Drive.
Services for family members, however, must be settled by the member/member’s family at the time of the dental appointment, and then file a reimbursement claim directly with MetLife.
Claim forms can be either obtained through the MetLife website www.metlife.com/tricare or through the medical clinic here on site. The sponsor can bring the claim form and paid bill in to the medical clinic for faxing. Upon receipt, MetLife adjudicates the claim and sends payment to either the member’s APO or Navy/site APO. You can setup an account at www.metlife.com/tricare to check the status of your claims.
If your family members are in need of orthodontic care, contact the medical clinic BEFORE you set up any appointments. The clinic will provide a briefing, a list of approved dentists, and appropriate forms.