Australia - just the facts
Beach Map Above
In land area, Australia is the sixth largest nation
Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. It has,
however, a relatively small population.
Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its
outlying islands. The mainland is the largest island and the smallest,
flattest continent on Earth. It lies between 10° and 39° South latitude.
The highest point on the mainland, Mount Kosciuszko, is only 2228
metres. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has
one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of
the land is arid or semi-arid. Its fertile areas are well-watered,
however, and these are used very effectively to help feed the world.
Sheep and cattle graze in dry country, but care must be taken with the
soil. Some grazing land became desert when the long cycles that
influence rainfall in Australia turned to drought.
The Australian federation consists of six States and two Territories.
Most inland borders follow lines of longitude and latitude. The largest
State, Western Australia, is about the same size as Western Europe.
Australia has had one of the most outstanding economies of the world in
recent years. As a high-growth, low-inflation, low interest rate
economy, it is more vibrant than ever before. There is an efficient
government sector, a flexible labour market and a very competitive
With its abundant physical resources, Australia has enjoyed a high
standard of living since the nineteenth century. It has made a
comparatively large investment in social infrastructure, including
education, training, health and transport.
The Australian workforce has seen many improvements over the last
decade, leading to the surge in productivity in the 1990s. The complex
and centralised award based industrial relations system has given way
to a more decentralised one with many employees working under workplace
agreements tailored to meet enterprise needs.
Australia's culturally diverse society includes its Indigenous peoples
and settlers from countries all around the world.
Immigration is an important feature of Australian society. Since 1945,
over six million people from 200 countries have come to Australia as
new settlers. Migrants have made a major contribution to shaping modern
Australia. People born overseas make up almost one quarter of the total
The federal government sets immigration intake numbers on a yearly
basis. Australia's immigration policies are non-discriminatory and all
applicants to migrate must meet the same selection criteria. more
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