Australia Country Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 4, 2009

australiaflagIMAGE200While the Australia of today is a fairly young country it has a great history which goes back thousands of years to the aboriginal tribes.  The population of this massive country are well known for their relaxed attitude to life and their love of sports, with Australian Rules Football and Cricket especially popular.  Originally part of the British Empire, the country is now independent under the commonwealth flag – although there has been much speculation as to whether this will change in the future.

First discovered by the developed world in 1606, there were a number of claims of ownership on the country – with the British Empire finally stamping their authority.  While often mentioned in the same breath as the likes of New Zealand, Australia is actually fairly isolated from other countries with New Zealand some 2,000 km away.

The vast majority of today’s Australian population can be traced back to British and Irish ancestors, and unsurprisingly the country still receives a fair amount of British and Irish Expats living in Australia.  Other nationalities represented in Australia include New Zealanders, Italians, Vietnamese and the Chinese.  The Australian authorities have long since operated a fairly tight immigration system that is based upon a point scoring formula.  Only people who can offer something to the Australian economy and culture will be considered for residency. The country is officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia comprising of six colonies. Now, this commonwealth has become one of the most technologically advanced and industrialized countries in the world.

The cities of Australia have been praised in a post at the Australia Expat Forum last October 11, 2009:

Basically Brisbane is a good place to live as it as mostly sunny with not much rain (we could do with more cause it hardly rains here) and you have so much to do with theme parks as well as two great coasts (Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast) which are both approximately 1 hour drive each way from Brisbane City. Also there is great camping (if you like that kind of thing) directly above Brisbane as well as rainforest walks that you can do (about 1 hr from Brisbane). But that’s all if you have your own transport. Brisbane does have okay public transport however Melbourne’s is heaps better.

I find that Brisbane is a city but without all of the ‘hustle and bustle’ and the arrogance that comes with that. Its kinda like a little big city where you can still relax (unlike somewhere like Sydney).

In relation to Melbourne they have a fantastic live music scene there as well as being a very artsy/cultural place. It is more expensive (I think) to live in Melbourne) I have had numerous friends that moved down to Melbourne and have come back stating that the artsy/culture/music scene was great however they found it to be pretty hard to meet people – even at a pub no one will just randomly smile and talk to you unlike in Brisbane.

Further to this, and this is the BIG ONE that everyone talks about with Melbourne is the weather. It literally can have the whole four seasons numerous times over in one day – the sky is regularly grey and dreary which gets pretty depressing. Its predominantly because of the weather that my friends have come back and all of the people that I know that still live there ALWAYS complain about the weather.

Contents: Economy in AustraliaProspects in AustraliaAustralia Facts

Economy in Australia

While the economy of Australia is still dependent upon agriculture, minerals and commodities, successive governments have been successful in introducing new areas of industry including a growing financial sector, and other service led industries.  Tourism is also having a larger impact on the Australian economy and the likes of the Olympics and other Cultural Events have heightened the country’s profile overseas.

The Australian economy is currently booming with unemployment down to a mere 4.6% of the workforce, and the volatile days of recent times are diminishing as the dependence upon commodities is reduced. As you would expect from a country with so much desert land, the property market is heavily focused of the more industrialized cities of Melbourne, Adelaide, etc. Australia is one of the most laissez-faire free market economies in the world, resulting in per capita GDP higher than that of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. It is currently the second highest country in the Human Development Index of the United Nations.

The personal and corporate taxation system is a little more severe than the UK, with corporation tax set at 30%, and personal taxes in the region of 17% to 47%. This has allowed the Australian authorities to put together a fairly powerful welfare state to help the poor and needy.  Tax revenues should continue to rise with many analysts forecasting economic growth of approximately 3% per annum over the next 2 or 3 years, which is more than manageable.

Prospects in Australia

Australia has always been a popular country for expats, with many of the British and Irish population making their new homes in the country.  Over the last few years the immigration system has become a lot tougher, with strict screening of potential foreign nationals.  While criticized by many, the Australian hard line approach has helped to attract a fair amount of highly qualified professionals for areas such as nursing and communications, resulting in a boost to the economy. The influx of immigrants results in a greater demand for housing in the country.

This has buoyed the Australian property market, which is one of the cornerstones of a strong and vibrant economy. This economy is buttressed by strong trade links with the likes of Japan, China, the USA, South Korea and New Zealand, further highlighting the potential for steady economic growth.

A reduction in the countries dependence on commodity prices has been well received, and should reduce the fairly wild economic fluctuations of recent times.  A growing tourist industry has been created due to Australia’s unique culture and heavy promotion overseas.  Australia has a warm climate, warm people and an economy which is showing signs of long term growth.

Key Facts on Australia:

Bordered by Indonesia, East Timor, Papua Guinea (and New Zealand, all of 2,000 km away)

Food: Traditional English food.

Temperature: Varied, from desert like temperatures to cooler mountain weather.

Industries: Natural Resources, Agriculture and Tourism, mainly the services industries accounts for 69% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Education: 11 years compulsory education.

Health: Life expectancy 81 years

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