Australia has a developed modern market economy and has had one of the most outstanding economies of the world in recent years with high-growth, low-inflation and low interest rates. Over the past decade, inflation has typically been 2–3% and the base interest rate 5–6%. There is an efficient government sector, a flexible labour market and a very competitive business sector.
Since 1992 Australia has averaged greater than 3 per cent economic growth and recorded over 17 consecutive years. This economic stability places Australia in the top echelon of developed
countries in terms of sustained rates of growth.
The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, representing 68% of Australian GDP. The agricultural and mining sectors account for 57% of the nation’s exports.
With its abundant physical resources, Australia has enjoyed a high standard of living since the nineteenth century. Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of liquified natural gas and coal. It has made a comparatively large investment in social infrastructure, including education, training, health and transport.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian per capita GDP growth is higher than that of New Zealand, US, Canada and The Netherlands. The past performance of the Australian economy has been heavily influenced by US, Japanese and Chinese economic growth.
Culture and Customs
The culture and customs consists of a rich tapestry of nationalities including traditions, legends, myths and folklore. The indigenous 'Dream time' forms the base of tens of thousands of years of spiritual aboriginal art and culture. Australian society is made up of people from a rich variety of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds, and this is a defining feature of modern Australian society. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years. Most Australians are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who arrived during the past two hundred years from more than 200 countries. The most commonly spoken language in Australia is English, and the most commonly practiced religion is Christianity, although foreign languages and other religions are also common.
Australia’s official language is English, by common usage rather than law. In Australia 200 different languages and dialects are spoken, including 45 indigenous languages. The most commonly spoken languages (other than English) are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.
Few unique Australian slang words commonly used in Australia:
||Short for afternoon- ‘drop by this arvo’, means please visit this afternoon.
|Barbecue, BBQ, Barbie
||Outdoor cooking, usually of meat over a grill or hotplate using gas or coals. The host serves the meat with salads and bread rolls. It is common for a guest, when invited to a BBQ, to ask if they should bring anything. A snag is the raw type of sausage usually cooked at a BBQ. They can be made of pork, beef, chicken, vegetables or grains.
||Support or cheer for (usually a particular sports team)
||a man. Sometimes if you ask for help, you may get told to ‘see that bloke over there’.
|Bring a plate
||If you are invited to a party or function and asked to ‘bring a plate’, this means bring a dish of food to share with your host and other guests. This is common for communal gatherings such as for school, work or a club. If you are unsure what to bring, ask the person who invited you.
||If you receive an invitation that says ‘BYO’, this means bring your own beverages. If you do not drink alcohol, it is acceptable to bring juice, soft drink or soda, or water. Some restaurants are BYO. You can bring your own wine to these, although there is usually a charge for opening bottles, serving and providing and cleaning glasses called ‘corkage’
||Is a cup of tea or coffee ‘drop this arvo for a cuppa’ means please come and visit this afternoon for a cup of tea or coffee.
||an Australian soldier
|Go for your life
||Yes, go ahead
||Hello. How are you?
||equitable treatment. This means that what someone achieves in life should be a product of their talents, work and effort rather than an as a result of their birth or favouritism.
||The task or request will be carried out without fuss or bother.
||a boorish, uncouth, chauvinistic Australian/or, alternatively, one who displays qualities considered to be typically Australian such as good humour, helpfulness and resourcefulness
||To buy someone a drink. At a bar or a pub when a group of friends meet, it is usual for each person to ‘shout a round’, meaning buying everybody a drink. Each person takes a turn at buying a ‘round’.
|To be crook
||To be sick or ill.
|There are a number of books on Australian colloquialisms and slang, including the Macquarie Dictionary Book of Slang.
Covering a total area of 7.69 million square kilometers, mainland Australia is the world’s largest island - but smallest continent. In distance, the continent stretches about 3700 kilometers from north to south and 4000 kilometers from east to west, making it the sixth-largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States and Brazil. Australia is also the only continent that is governed as a single country. It is sometimes informally referred to as an 'island' continent, surrounded by oceans.
Weather in Australia
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of our continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimeters. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia's seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Time zones in Australia
Australia is divided into three separate time zones:
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) covers the eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. AEST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 10 hours (UTC +10).
Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) covers the state of South Australia, the town of Broken Hill in western New South Wales and the Northern Territory. ACST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 9½ hours (UTC +9½).
Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) covers Western Australia. AWST is equal to Coordinated Universal Time plus 8 hours (UTC +8).
States and Territories
Australia is made up of six states and two territories. To find out more about each state and territory, use the map below:
Australian Capital Territory is home to important national institutions, including the Australian Parliament and the High Court of Australia. Canberra is the capital city which is also the national capital and the centre of government. It is located approximately 290 kilometres south of Sydney in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Canberra lies on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, and its name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, from the Aboriginal word ‘Kamberra’. The State Population is about 358,900. The climate in January is 13-27 °C and is July is -1° - -11 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.visitcanberra.com.au)
New South Wales is Australia’s oldest and most populated state. It was originally settled as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where the bustling capital city of Sydney now stands. More than a third of Australians live in New South Wales, and Sydney is the nation’s largest city. The State Population is about 7.2 million. The climate in January is 19-27 °C and is July is 8-16 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.visitnsw.com.au)
Victoria is the smallest of the mainland states in size but the second most populated. Melbourne is the capital and is Australia’s second most populated city. During the gold rush of the 1850s, it became one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. Melbourne is sometimes referred to as the "cultural capital of Australia" and is the birthplace of Australian film, television, art, dance and music. Victorians’ enthusiasm for sport is also legendary and this is where Australian Rules football began. The State Population is about 5.5 million. The climate in January is 14-27 °C and is July is 8-16 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.visitvictoria.com)
Queensland is Australia’s second-largest state in size. The state capital is Brisbane, the third most populated city in Australia. Queenslanders enjoy more winter sunshine and warmth than most other Australian states and it’s perfect for all types of outdoor activities and water sports. Queensland is also home to the world famous Great Barrier Reef as well as five World Heritage listed areas. The State Population is about 4.5 million. The climate in January is 21-31 °C and is July is 10-21 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.queenslandholidays.com.au)
South Australia is a state in the southern central part of the country which covers some of the most arid parts of the continent. It is the fourth largest of Australia's states and shares its borders with all of the mainland states and the Northern Territory. The state capital is Adelaide, the fifth-largest city in Australia. South Australia has a thriving arts scene and is sometimes known as the ‘Festival State’, with more than 500 festivals taking place there every year. The State Population is about 1.6 million. The climate in January is 17-32 °C and is July is 8-16 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.southaustralia.com)
At the top end of Australia lies the Northern Territory. Darwin, on the northern coast, is the capital, and Alice Springs the principal inland town. Alice Springs is the physical heart of Australia, almost exactly at the nation's geographical centre. The Northern Territory is home to the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Kakadu national park. The State Population is about 229,700. The climate in January is 26-34 °C and is July is 21-32 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.travelnt.com)
Western Australia is Australia’s largest state by area. About three-quarters of the state’s population live in the capital Perth, which is the fourth most populated city in Australia. The east of the state is mostly desert while to the west the state is bound by almost 13000 kilometres of pristine coastline. In the 1890s gold was discovered and mining is still one of the state’s biggest industries. The State Population is about 2.2 million. The climate in January is 18-31 °C and is July is 9-18 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.westernaustralia.com)
Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait and is the smallest state in Australia. The capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. One-fifth of Tasmania is covered by national parks and wilderness areas. It is one of the world's most mountainous islands whose geology reflects Australia’s connection millions of years ago with Antarctica. The State Population is about 507,600. The climate in January is 11-22 °C and is July is 3-11 °C. To explore further, Visit: (www.discovertasmania.com.au)
Australia also administers Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (or Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island and the Australian Antarctic Territory (covering 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent) as external territories.
www.immi.gov.au, www.australia.gov.au, www.about-australia.com, www.lonelyplanet.com, www.heritage.org