Living Here

The Australian Economy

Australia’s economy is open and innovative, with a commitment from the Australian Government to maintain the strong economic growth that has taken place since the early 1990s. Over the past decade, solid productivity gains have been accompanied by low inflation and interest rates.

Australia is one of the few countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where general government net debt has been eliminated. According to the OECD’s 2006 economic summary of Australia, living standards have steadily improved since the start of the 1990s and now surpass those of all the industrialised nations that form the Group of Eight except the United States.

Australian exports, which in 2007 totalled $218 billion, are a mix of minerals and energy, manufacturing, rural products and services.

Australia has a well-developed education system with participation rates among the highest in the world. Each year, Australia welcomes an increasing number of international students, with current figures rating Australia 3rd among English-speaking countries as a student destination (2007).

Australia’s aid program aims to help people in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty and responds quickly when disaster strikes. The primary focus is the Asia–Pacific region, which has the world’s highest concentration of people living in poverty. Australia also provides aid to developing countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The key objective of Australia’s foreign and trade policy is to promote our security and long-term prosperity. The challenge is to protect and advance Australia’s national interests in a rapidly changing environment, while supporting a stable global order. The three pillars of Australia’s international engagement are: active participation in the institutions of global governance, including the United Nations and the WTO; enhancing Australia’s alliance with the United States; and engaging with the states and institutions of the Asia-Pacific region.

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.

Australia’s spectacular natural environment, rich Indigenous history and culture, multicultural communities, and high-quality food and wine make it a popular international tourist destination. Approximately 5.6 million people visited Australia in 2007, making the tourism industry the largest contributor to Australian services export earnings.

Australia is a robust democracy that pioneered the secret ballot and the vote for women. Australia’s system of government reflects the British and North American models of liberal democracy, but has uniquely Australian features.


Australia has the 14th biggest overall economy in the world and the 9th biggest industrialised economy (2007). Australia is the 15th richest nation in per capita terms, and is the 6th oldest continuously functioning democracy in the world.

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. During this time, the population has tripled from about 7 million.

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 (2007). As a result, Australia offers the familiarity of a Western business culture with a workforce capable of operating in many different business environments.


The Australian flag

The Australian flag was raised for the first time in Melbourne on 3 September 1901, following a design competition that drew 32,823 entries. The stars of the Southern Cross represent Australia’s geographic position in the Southern Hemisphere, the large Commonwealth star symbolises the federation of the states and territories and the Union Jack embodies Australia’s early ties to Great Britain.


The Australian National Colours

Green and gold have been Australia’s national colours since 19 April 1984.


The Australia’s National Day

Australia Day is celebrated every year on 26 January. This date commemorates the anniversary of the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove in 1788.

 Australia’s National Anthem 

Advance Australia Fair has been Australia’s official national anthem since 19 April 1984.

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.