Australia

Stable, culturally diverse and

democratic society with a skilled workforce

Australia - an Overview

Australia - an Overview

Australia is a stable, culturally diverse and democratic society with a skilled workforce and strong, competitive economy.  With a population of approximately 22.6 million, Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent.  It is the earth’s biggest island and the sixth-largest country in the world in land area.

Australia is one of the world’s oldest landmasses and has been populated by human beings for an estimated 60 000 years.  Before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the continent.  Australia’s contemporary history is relatively short, with the first European settlement established by Great Britain on 26 January 1788.

The Australian landscape is distinctive and varied.  In the centre and the west there are vast stony and sandy deserts; in the east, sweeping plateaus and plains flank narrow coastal slopes.  Australia’s coast features broad sandy beaches and lush vegetation.   These are backed by a great variety of landforms, ranging from the steep cliffs of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and the eroded volcanic rock of the Glasshouse Mountains north of Brisbane, to the flat plains on the southern coast west of Adelaide.

The national average annual rainfall of 465mm varies greatly each year and is distributed unevenly around the continent.  The driest area is the Lake Eyre drainage basin, with averages less than 125mm annual.  The wettest regions are in the tropical north-east and the north-west of Tasmania, with more than 3 500mm recorded in some parts of Tasmania’s mountain ranges.

Despite these erratic rain patterns, Australia has fertile areas close to the coast, where the bulk of the population lives.  Here Australian’s experience a range of climate, from wet and humid tropical conditions in the far north, through warm and temperate on the central east and west coast, to cooler conditions on the southern coasts and in Tasmania.

Australia has 10 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and a great number of its native plants, animals and birds exist nowhere else in the world.  Australia is committed to conserving its unique environment and natural heritage and has a range or protection procedures in place, including World Heritage listings and many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Australia’s population includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants from some 200 countries.  In over 60 years of planned post-war migration, Australia has welcomed more than 6.5 million migrants, including more than 660,000 refugees.  
Migrants have brought with them language skills and other capabilities that are valuable in today’s global economy and workforce.  Although English is the official language in Australia, more than 3 million Australians speak a language other than English at home.  As a result, Australia offers the familiarity of Western business culture with a workforce capable of operating in many different business environments.

Today, almost one in four of Australia’s estimated resident population of 22.6 million was born overseas. 

The quality of life enjoyed by people in Australia is one of the highest in the world.  Australia’s clean physical environment, health services, education and lifestyle combine to make it an attractive place to live.  Australia’s ancient indigenous traditions and multiculturalism are reflected in the diverse cultures and forms of artistic talent present in the country.

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