source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)


   Introduction    Australia
Definition Field Listing Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession in the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include climate-change issues such as the depletion of the ozone layer and more frequent droughts, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.
   Geography    Australia
Definition Field Listing Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing 27 00 S, 133 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing Oceania
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 7,686,850 sq km
land: 7,617,930 sq km
water: 68,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing 0 km
Definition Field Listing 25,760 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Definition Field Listing generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
Definition Field Listing mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
Land use:
Definition Field Listing arable land: 6.15% (includes about 27 million hectares of cultivated grassland)
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 93.81% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing 25,450 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 398 cu km (1995)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 24.06 cu km/yr (15%/10%/75%)
per capita: 1,193 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast, and is one of the most consistent winds in the world
   People    Australia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 21,007,310 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 0-14 years: 18.8% (male 2,022,151/female 1,919,002)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 7,233,555/female 7,038,722)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 1,266,166/female 1,527,714) (2008 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing total: 37.1 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 37.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing 1.221% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 12.55 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6.68 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 4.82 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 81.53 years
male: 79.16 years
female: 84.02 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.78 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 14,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing noun: Australian(s)
adjective: Australian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%
Definition Field Listing Catholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%, Buddhist 1.9%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 12.7%, none 15.3% (2001 Census)
Definition Field Listing English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8% (2001 Census)
Definition Field Listing definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 20 years
male: 20 years
female: 21 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.5% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Australia
Country name:
Definition Field Listing conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing federal parliamentary democracy
Definition Field Listing name: Canberra
geographic coordinates: 35 17 S, 149 13 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in October; ends last Sunday in March
note: Australia is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing 6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Dependent areas:
Definition Field Listing Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island
Definition Field Listing 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing Australia Day, 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)
Definition Field Listing 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing chief of state: Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Quentin BRYCE (since 5 September 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Kevin RUDD (since 3 December 2007); Deputy Prime Minister Julia GILLARD (since 3 December 2007)
cabinet: prime minister nominates, from among members of Parliament, candidates who are subsequently sworn in by the governor general to serve as government ministers
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the six states and 2 from each of the two mainland territories; one-half of state members are elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms while all territory members are elected every three years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members elected by popular preferential vote to serve terms of up to three-years; no state can have fewer than 5 representatives)
elections: Senate - last held 24 November 2007 (next to be held no later than 2010); House of Representatives - last held 24 November 2007 (next to be called no later than 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 37, Australian Labor Party 32, Australian Greens 5, Family First Party 1, other 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Australian Labor Party 83, Liberal Party 55, National Party 10, independents 2
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing High Court (the chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing Australian Democrats [Lyn ALLISON]; Australian Greens [Bob BROWN]; Australian Labor Party [Kevin RUDD]; Country Liberal Party [Jodeen CARNEY]; Family First Party [Steve FIELDING]; Liberal Party [Brendan NELSON]; The Nationals [Warren TRUSS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing other: business groups; enviromental groups; social groups; trade unions
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing chief of mission: Ambassador Dennis J. RICHARDSON
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing chief of mission: Ambassador Robert D. McCALLUM, Jr.
embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600
mailing address: APO AP 96549
telephone: [61] (02) 6214-5600
FAX: [61] (02) 6214-5970
consulate(s) general: Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars
   Economy    Australia
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing Australia has an enviable, strong economy with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Robust business and consumer confidence and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products are fueling the economy, particularly in mining states. Australia's emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom, and growing ties with China have been key factors behind the economy's 16 solid years of expansion. Drought, robust import demand, and a strong currency have pushed the trade deficit up in recent years, while infrastructure bottlenecks and a tight labor market are constraining growth in export volumes and stoking inflation. Australia's budget has been in surplus since 2002 due to strong revenue growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $773 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $908.8 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $37,300 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 3%
industry: 26.4%
services: 70.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 10.95 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 21.2%
services: 75.2% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.4% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 25.4% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing 30.5 (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 27.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing revenues: $321.9 billion
expenditures: $315.8 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 15.6% of GDP
note: the Commonwealth government eliminated its net debt in 2006, but continues a gross debt issue to support the market for risk-free securities (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep, poultry
Definition Field Listing mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 236.7 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 219.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 540,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 903,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 333,200 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 611,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.437 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 38.62 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 25.72 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 12.9 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 750.6 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -$56.78 billion (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $142.1 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Japan 19.1%, China 14.7%, South Korea 8%, India 5.9%, US 5.8%, NZ 5.2% (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $160 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing China 14.3%, US 12.9%, Japan 9.6%, Singapore 6.1%, Germany 5.2%, UK 4.4%, Thailand 4% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing ODA, $2.123 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $26.91 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $826.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $315 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $280.6 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $804.1 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing Australian dollar (AUD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing 1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Australia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9.76 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 21.26 million (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing general assessment: excellent domestic and international service
domestic: domestic satellite system; significant use of radiotelephone in areas of low population density; rapid growth of mobile cellular telephones
international: country code - 61; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable with links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Southern Cross fiber optic submarine cable provides links to New Zealand and the United States; satellite earth stations - 19 (10 Intelsat - 4 Indian Ocean and 6 Pacific Ocean, 2 Inmarsat - Indian and Pacific Ocean regions, 2 Globalstar, 5 other) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing AM 262, FM 345, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing 104 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .au
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9.458 million (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 11.24 million (2007)
   Transportation    Australia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 461 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 317
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 138
914 to 1,523 m: 143
under 914 m: 13 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 144
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 109
under 914 m: 16 (2007)
Definition Field Listing 1 (2007)
Definition Field Listing condensate/gas 469 km; gas 26,719 km; liquid petroleum gas 240 km; oil 3,720 km; oil/gas/water 110 km (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 38,550 km
broad gauge: 3,727 km 1.600-m gauge
standard gauge: 20,519 km 1.435-m gauge (1,877 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 14,074 km 1.067-m gauge (2,453 km electrified)
dual gauge: 230 km dual gauge (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 812,972 km
paved: 341,448 km
unpaved: 471,524 km (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2,000 km (mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling river systems) (2006)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 52 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,296,383 GRT/1,490,539 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 13, cargo 6, chemical tanker 1, container 1, liquefied gas 4, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 5
foreign-owned: 24 (Canada 9, France 1, Germany 2, Japan 1, Netherlands 2, Norway 1, Singapore 1, UK 5, US 2)
registered in other countries: 34 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Bahamas 1, Bermuda 2, Dominica 2, Fiji 1, Marshall Islands 2, NZ 1, Panama 4, Singapore 11, Tonga 1, Tuvalu 1, UK 3, US 2, Vanuatu 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing Brisbane, Dampier, Fremantle, Gladstone, Hay Point, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Hedland, Port Kembla, Port Walcott, Sydney
   Military    Australia
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing Australian Defense Force (ADF): Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Special Operations Command (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing 17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in Army combat units in non-combat support roles (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 4,999,988
females age 16-49: 4,870,043 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 4,137,176
females age 16-49: 4,022,588 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 144,934
female: 137,511 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.4% of GDP (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Australia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing Timor-Leste and Australia agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for fifty years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty; dispute with Timor-Leste hampers creation of a revised maritime boundary with Indonesia in the Timor Sea; regional states continue to express concern over Australia's 2004 declaration of a 1,000-nautical mile-wide maritime identification zone; Australia asserts land and maritime claims to Antarctica; in 2004 Australia submitted its claims to Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to extend its continental margins covering over 3.37 million square kilometers, expanding its seabed roughly thirty percent more than its claimed exclusive economic zone; since 2003, Australia has led the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to maintain civil and political order and reinforce regional security
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines

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Countries of the World - Detailed information about Australia -
Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

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