Do I need ambulance cover? 

Need another great reason to live in Queensland? If you’re a permanent resident of the Sunshine State you’ll qualify for free ambulance assistance, no matter where you are in Australia. There’s no need to get an ambulance policy or special ambulance cover. You and your family are protected and can call on paramedics for emergencies, big or small, at home or away.

While this is great for us, not every state is the same. Friends and family living in other Australian states may be out of pocket when they need to call an ambulance for help. Find out more about what your loved ones could pay, and why they may need to consider ambulance cover.

The cost of ambulance cover across Australia

Every state in Australia has their own ambulance regulations. In some states the government covers the costs of an ambulance, like in Queensland, for others, the patient will be the one to pay.

Take a look at how ambulances work across Australia so you can be prepared if you need one.


If you’re a permanent resident in Queensland the Queensland Government will cover your ambulance costs across all Australian states. Just forward your invoice through to the Queensland Ambulance Service and your bill will be paid by them, with no out of pocket fees for you.


If you live in Victoria and don’t have ambulance cover you’ll pay for both emergency and non-emergency transportation. Victoria Health calculates the costs of the ambulance based on your location. Rural or regional ambulances cost a bit more than if you need an ambulance in the city. Another factor in the bill is the nature of the call-out. Emergency ambulances are substantially more than non-emergency help. You can save by having private health insurance which includes ambulance cover, getting cover through a state ambulance authority, or if you have concession benefit.

New South Wales

The Ambulance Service of NSW will charge an initial call-out fee and then you’ll be charged per kilometre until you reach hospital. If you live in NSW the government will contribute a portion towards the bill with you making up the rest. The difference between emergency and non-emergency call-outs isn’t too much if you’re a NSW resident, but it does jump up if you’re visiting from another state. You’ll have free ambulance services in NSW if you’re a pensioner or concession card holder, your accident is covered by workers compensation or a third party insurance claim, you were in a vehicle accident or in other special circumstances

South Australia

The South Australian Ambulance Service will ask you to pay for all emergency and non-emergency call-outs, except if you hold private health insurance or have an Ambulance Cover membership. The cost of an ambulance in SA is dependent on the nature of the call-out and the location. You’ll save a few bucks if you need treatment but no transportation – which is calculated per kilometre.


If you live in Tassie the cost of your ambulance will generally be covered by the Tasmanian Government, you’ll just need to prove you reside there. If you need an ambulance on the mainland you may end up needing to pay, depending on where you are. In all states other than South Australia and Queensland your ambulance fee will be waivered by the Tasmania Government. 

Australian Capital Territory

Ambulance services in the ACT are calculated on whether the call-out is an emergency or non-emergency. Emergency fees are a tad higher than non-emergency and you’ll pay more if you need to be transported as well as treated. If you’re a school student, pensioner or concession holder, injured in a motor vehicle accident or in other certain circumstances, the cost of your ambulance fee will be covered.

Northern Territory

Up in the Northern Territory all ambulances are sent out and managed by St John. You can avoid paying any costs if you’re covered with St John directly or if you have health insurance. If you’re not covered, you’ll end up paying a call-out fee and transportation calculated per kilometre too. 

Western Australia

If you’re in metro WA, St John Ambulance will charge you for ambulance fees whether they’re an emergency or not. It’s worth noting non-emergency fees are about half the cost of emergency call-outs. If you’re an aged pensioner, have private health insurance with ambo cover, or have an ambulance membership – the bill will be covered.

If you’re in the country, St John Country Ambulance Cover is a subscription you can consider to reduce the costs of a call-out. The small annual subscription fee goes towards protecting you and your family, while helping the community with first aid courses, first aid kits and supplies and first aid posts at events around WA.