On behalf of the Organising Committee, I would like to extend our warm welcome to you all, both to Canberra and to MaxEnt 2013 !

Those of you from countries with a visa waiver agreement with Australia should have no difficulty entering Australia for up to 3 months for non-paid business travel. You must obtain one of:
  • an Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601), available for most developed countries (cost AUD 20); for further details see here.
  • an eVisitor (Subclass 651), available for most European countries (free of charge); for further details see here.
The application is lodged electronically and is usually processed quickly (commonly within 1 to 2 weeks). If you plan to visit for a longer period, or will be holidaying or in paid employment, you may require another class of business visa or tourist visa or perhaps some other visa category.

Those of you from other countries must obtain a visa to enter Australia. For a short-term business visit, you will probably need to apply for:
  • a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), Business Visitor Stream; details here.
A general summary of visa options is available here. Free advice on visas for conference attendance can also be sought from the International Event Coordinator Network Service. You should apply for the visa at least 2 months, and preferably 4 months, in advance. As part of the application, it will be necessary to request and obtain a letter of invitation from The University of New South Wales, for which you will be subjected to the University’s internal approval processes; these in themselves may require several months. All prospective participants in this category are therefore strongly advised to notify the Organising Committee immediately.

Nationals of most APEC countries (except Canada, Russia and USA) may also consider obtaining an
APEC Business Travel Card, which enables streamlined airport entry; details are available here.

For those of you flying into Australia, our entry procedure is like the USA and Canada: you need to clear all bags through customs at the first entry port, and then recheck them.  Both Qantas and Virgin have transfer desks and/or gates at Sydney and Melbourne, which work reasonably well. Be aware that Australia has
strict quarantine requirements (for entry of food, wood, animal products etc), and you will probably be greeted by the food sniffer dogs in the baggage terminals. Quarantine inspection and clearance can take 1 hour. For those entering via Sydney, please also be aware that airport transfer between the international to domestic terminals can take >30min.

There is no tipping in Australia (unless you insist), and quoted prices must include all taxes, so you don’t have to worry about hidden or unexpected costs (although in the past year, credit card surcharges have become rather prolific).

For the conference, please bring whatever connectors you need for your computer, such as your Mac projector plug.  Australia and New Zealand use 240 V and have our own electricity plug, so you should buy a plug adaptor before you travel.   

So, safe travelling, and see you at the conference !

Robert Niven
on behalf of the Organising Committee.