The Australian culture and attitude to life is very unique in a world where issues are taken out of context and many things are taken too seriously. The Oz attitude and national pride has evolved over the years, in what is still considered as a very young country. This land is now becoming one of the most popular countries for Expats to relocate due to a mixture of the fine weather, the laid back attitude to life and great potential for the future.
The country itself offers such a variety of landscapes and lifestyles, with many of the nationals living in the “outback” region of the country, where their nearest neighbor can be literally hundreds of miles away. The fact that such a vastly spread society has been able to prosper is a testament to both the authorities and the individual inhabitants of this island continent.
Australia was dominated by the indigenous Aborigine tribes before becoming a colony of Great Britain. There is a heavy Anglo-Celtic theme to the country because of its long colonial history. In what is historically a fairly new nation, the Australians are slowly but surely adding in their own particular nationalistic characteristics to the developing character of the nation.
The emerging “Aussie” culture has been strongly influenced by American culture with TV and the media is very strong in Australia. There has also been a noticeable influx of immigrants from the nearby Asian countries, which together with English speaking immigrants have added to the variety and depth of the Australian society and demeanor.
As well as TV and the media, sport plays a major part in the Australian way of life with Australian Rules Football, Cricket and Rugby among the many sports in which the countries sports people have excelled. There is a long running rivalry with the United Kingdom, which stems form the earlier days of British rule – culminating in the fierce battle for the cricketing “Ashes” series.
Lately, there has been an upsurge of tourists and immigrants to the country. Long holidays have become common, experiences have been shared in Australia Expat Forum dated August 10, 2009 rather emphatically that:
“we went to victoria , south aus and queensland and all were superb and me and the family now want to go for it and move over in around 18 months time or so.”
The short vacation by many individuals often leads to plans for immigration into Australia.
Australia has a very impressive unemployment record with only 5.9% of the work force currently out of work as reported in the latest 2009 Australia Labor Statistics The main areas of industry in Australia are agriculture, mining and commodities with the vast desert lands of the outback holding the key to the wealth and prosperity of this great nation. The country is home to some of the largest mining companies in the world, with only a fraction of the land available having been explored and exploited as if yet.
This commodities led economy has led to an imbalance in exports and imports, with Australia predominately becoming an importing country. This has had an impact on the current account deficit of the economy, with the current financial crisis felt worldwide has affected both the prices and cost of commodities and living in the country.
There is also the emergence of a services sector, with many areas of professional expertise in relatively short supply in the country. This has led to the influx of many professionals from overseas for industries such as nursing, dentistry and surgery. Many of these foreign professionals have been able to take advantage of a fast track immigration process designed to attract professionals to make up the short fall within Australia. Another burgeoning market is the tourism industry. The warm tropical climate and the beautiful beaches has become a major tourist haven in the world.
The Australian property market obviously has a number of completely different sectors (between the outback and inner city residential markets) but most immigrants will obviously look to the major inner cities on their arrival. As the economic well being of the country tends to depend upon the fluctuating price of commodities, the housing market has historically been a difficult market in which to engineer a good return – however, there are signs that this is changing.
In direct comparison to the UK, the Australian residential market is focused on renting rather outright house purchase. In fact, in many areas of the country it is easier to buy a quality property than rent one. This offers a useful and economical entry point into the housing market, for the expat looking to relocate in the country.
Even though 2005 and 2006 have been difficult times for the Australian housing market, many are forecasting an upturn in 2007. Compared to other developed nations, the Australian property market offers varying and slightly disappointing returns, although for those looking to stay for the long term there may be the opportunity to benefit in due course. As reported in Australia Property News, this seemingly slumping market has now becoming to blossom, with the latest figures increasing an average of 3.3% in the last quarter of 2009. This is due to the strong performance of the high-end property market in Australia.
The income tax system in Australia is not as attractive as those in many developed countries, with a distinct lack of various allowances that are common place within the systems prevalent in Europe. Tax is charged on a Pay As You Go basis, with the proceeds going towards the federal social services budget.
The Australian social benefits system is aimed towards the more vulnerable individuals of society, including one parent families, the old, infirm unemployed or sick. The system is periodically tested and regularly reviewed for changes in circumstances prevalent in society. New immigrants are not able to claim the full range of social benefits until 104 weeks of residency in the country.
Government figures show that the poorest 10% of society will receive over 600% more in benefits than the richest 10%, over their lifetimes. A reflection of how the authorities have targeted the poor and needy for extra assistance. This has caused strains on the social system but as a welfare state, the benefits are withdrawn upon improvement of the status of the individual beneficiary.
To say that Australia is a unique country and culture is an understatement. There are many areas of natural beauty including Ayers rock which is a sight to behold, as well as the quiet calm of the outback. The comparison between the outback and the inner city business world could not be further part, which is what seems to attract a great number of visitors to the country. For many expats, there is no feeling of isolation despite the large distances as stated in the Australia Expat Forum last August 9, 2009.
“The inner city areas offer a great and varied nightlife, coupled with the opportunity to experience the famous sandy beaches of the coast. Christmas in the sun is a novelty for many Europeans, although the UK style socialising culture is still very much prevalent.”
For those looking to become part of a growing nation which is still finding its own identity, Australia may be the place for you.
Capital : Canberra
Official Language : English
Government : Constitutional Monarchy, with Governor General and Prime Minister
Size : 7,741,220 km2
Population : 20.7 million
Currency : Australian Dollar
International Dialling Code : +61
Economy : 15th largest in the world
Religion : Roman Catholic and Anglican