Australia facts on every entity in the world

Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the Allied effort in World Wars I and II.

In recent decades, Australia has become an internationally competitive, advanced market economy due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s and its location in one of the fastest growing regions of the world economy. Long-term concerns include an aging population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as floods, droughts, and bushfires. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, making it particularly vulnerable to the challenges of climate change. Australia is home to 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity, and a great number of its flora and fauna exist nowhere else in the world.



Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates

27.00° S, 133.00° E

Area 6/257

total: 7,741,220 sq km

land: 7,682,300 sq km

water: 58,920 sq km

note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states

Land boundaries

0 km


25,760 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north


mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m

highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m

Natural resources

bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

note: Australia is the world's largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports

Land use

agricultural land: 53.4%

arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 47.1%

forest: 19.3%

other: 27.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

25,500 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

492 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 22.58 cu km/yr (27%/18%/55%)

per capita: 1,152 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards

cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires

volcanism: volcanic activity on Heard and McDonald Islands

Environment - current issues

soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural freshwater resources

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; the largest country in Oceania, the largest country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest country without land borders; the only continent without glaciers; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world

People and Society


noun: Australian(s)

adjective: Australian

Ethnic groups

English 25.9%, Australian 25.4%, Irish 7.5%, Scottish 6.4%, Italian 3.3%, German 3.2%, Chinese 3.1%, Indian 1.4%, Greek 1.4%, Dutch 1.2%, other 15.8% (includes Australian aboriginal .5%), unspecified 5.4%

note: data represents self-identified ancestry, over a third of respondents reported two ancestries (2011 est.)


English 76.8%, Mandarin 1.6%, Italian 1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Greek 1.2%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.1%, other 10.4%, unspecified 5% (2011 est.)


Protestant 30.1% (Anglican 17.1%, Uniting Church 5.0%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.8%, Baptist, 1.6%, Lutheran 1.2%, Pentecostal 1.1%, other Protestant 1.3%), Catholic 25.3% (Roman Catholic 25.1%, other Catholic .2%), other Christian 2.9%, Orthodox 2.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Muslim 2.2%, Hindu 1.3%, other 1.3%, none 22.3%, unspecified 9.3% (2011 est.)

Population 56/238

22,751,014 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.9% (male 2,089,561/female 1,982,719)

15-24 years: 13.14% (male 1,533,526/female 1,455,870)

25-54 years: 41.67% (male 4,822,083/female 4,658,371)

55-64 years: 11.82% (male 1,333,924/female 1,355,347)

65 years and over: 15.47% (male 1,628,108/female 1,891,505) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.9%

youth dependency ratio: 28.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 22.7%

potential support ratio: 4.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 38.4 years

male: 37.7 years

female: 39.2 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 114/233

1.07% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 162/224

12.15 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 126/225

7.14 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 23/222

5.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 89.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.47% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Sydney 4.505 million; Melbourne 4.203 million; Brisbane 2.202 million; Perth 1.861 million; Adelaide 1.256 million; CANBERRA (capital) 423,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.5 (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 164/184

6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 188/224

total: 4.37 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.67 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 13/224

total population: 82.15 years

male: 79.7 years

female: 84.74 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 159/224

1.77 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate


note: percent of women aged 18-44 (2005)

Health expenditures 37/191

9.4% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

3.27 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

3.9 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.17% (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

28,200 (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

fewer than 100 (2013 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 44/191

29.9% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 138/138

0.2% (2007)

Education expenditures 56/173

5.1% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 20 years

male: 20 years

female: 21 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 93/134

total: 12.2%

male: 13%

female: 11.3% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia

conventional short form: Australia

abbreviation: AS

etymology: the name Australia is derived from the Latin "australis" meaning "southern"; the Australian landmass was long referred to as "Terra Australis" or the Southern Land

Government type

federal parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


name: Canberra

geographic coordinates: 35.16° S, 149.08° E

time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends first Sunday in April

note: Australia has three time zones

Administrative divisions

6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

Dependent areas

Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island


1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)

National holiday

Australia Day (commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Australian settlers), 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorates the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)


9 July 1900; effective 1 January 1901; amended several times, last in 1977; note - a referendum to amend the constitution to reflect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013 is planned for early 2017 (2015)

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Peter COSGROVE (since 28 March 2014)

head of government: Prime Minister Malcolm TURNBULL (since 15 September 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Warren TRUSS (since 18 September 2013)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and sworn in by the governor general

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the 6 states and 2 each from the 2 mainland territories; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of state membership renewed every 3 years and territory membership renewed every 3 years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority preferential vote; members serve terms of up to 3 years)

elections: Senate - last held on 7 September 2013; House of Representatives - last held on 7 September 2013 (the latest a simultaneous half-Senate and House of Representative elections can be held is 30 November 2016)

election results: Senate - seats by party - ALP 12, Lib 8, Liberal/National Coalition 5, The Greens 4, LNP 3, PUP 3, CLP 1, Family First 1, LDP 1, Motor Enthusiasts 1, Nick Kenophon Group 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Liberal/National Coalition 45.6%, ALP 33.4%, Greens 8.7%, PUP 5.5%, Katter's Australian Party 1.0%, other 4.5%, independent 1.4%; seats by party - Liberal/National Coalition 90 (Lib 58, LNP 22, Nats 9, CLP 1), ALP 55, Greens 1, Katter's Australian Party 1, PUP 1, independent 2

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court of Australia (consists of 7 justices, including the chief justice); note - each of the 6 states, 2 territories, and Norfolk Island has a Supreme Court; the High Court is the final appellate court beyond the state and territory supreme courts

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general in council for life with mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: subordinate courts at the federal level: Federal Court; Federal Magistrates' Courts of Australia; Family Court; subordinate courts at the state and territory level: Local Court - New South Wales; Magistrates' Courts – Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory; District Courts – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia; County Court – Victoria; Family Court – Western Australia; Court of Petty Sessions – Norfolk Island

Political parties and leaders

Australian Greens Party [Richard DI NATALE]

Australian Labor Party [Bill SHORTEN]

Country Liberal Party or CLP [Adam GILES]

Family First Party [Bob DAY]

Katter's Australian Party [Bob KATTER]

Liberal National Party of Queensland or LNP [Lawrence SPRINGBORG]

Liberal Party [Malcolm TURNBULL]

National Party of Australia [Warren TRUSS]

Palmer United Party or PUP [Clive PALMER]

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: business groups, environmental groups, social groups, trade unions

International organization participation

ADB, ANZUS, APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CP, EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-20, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF, SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), Sparteca, SPC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small, five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (five, seven-pointed stars), kangaroo, emu; national colors: green, gold

National anthem

name: "Advance Australia Fair"

lyrics/music: Peter Dodds McCORMICK

note: adopted 1984; although originally written in the late 19th century, the anthem was not used for all official occasions until 1984; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" is also played at Royal functions (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Following two decades of continuous growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, very low public debt, and a strong and stable financial system, Australia enters 2016 facing a range of growth constraints, principally driven by a sharp fall in global prices of key export commodities. Although demand for resources and energy from Asia and especially China has grown rapidly, creating a channel for resources investments and growth in commodity exports, sharp drops in current prices have already impacted growth.

The services sector is the largest part of the Australian economy, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of jobs. Australia was comparatively unaffected by the global financial crisis as the banking system has remained strong and inflation is under control.

Australia has benefited from a dramatic surge in its terms of trade in recent years, although this trend could reverse or slow due to falling global commodity prices. Australia is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food. Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources. A series of major investments, such as the US$40 billion Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas project, will significantly expand the resources sector.

Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. The process of opening up has increased productivity, stimulated growth, and made the economy more flexible and dynamic. Australia plays an active role in the World Trade Organization, APEC, the G20, and other trade forums. Australia entered into free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Republic of Korea and Japan, and concluded an FTA with China, in 2014, adding to existing FTAs with Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the US, and a regional FTA with ASEAN and New Zealand. Australia continues to negotiate bilateral agreements with India and Indonesia, as well as larger agreements with its Pacific neighbors and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and an Asia-wide Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that includes the ten ASEAN countries and China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and India. Australia is also working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 19/230

$1.489 trillion (2015 est.)

$1.454 trillion (2014 est.)

$1.56 trillion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.241 trillion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 128/225

2.4% (2015 est.)

2.5% (2014 est.)

2.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 14/230

$65,400 (2015 est.)

$64,700 (2014 est.)

$65,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 66/179

22.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

23.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

24.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57%

government consumption: 17.9%

investment in fixed capital: 25.7%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 18.5%

imports of goods and services: -19.1%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.7%

industry: 28.9%

services: 67.4% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry


mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel

Industrial production growth rate 96/202

2.7% (2015 est.)

Labor force 45/233

12.5 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.6%

industry: 21.1%

services: 75.3% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate 71/207

6.2% (2015 est.)

6.1% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 25.4% (1994)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 119/144

30.3 (2008)

35.2 (1994)


revenues: $425.7 billion

expenditures: $451.4 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 67/219

34.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 74/220

-2.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 102/176

44.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

42.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 108/226

1.9% (2015 est.)

2.5% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 104/156

3% (28 February 2013)

4.35% (31 December 2010)

note: this is the Reserve Bank of Australia's "cash rate target," or policy rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate 136/184

5.6% (31 December 2015 est.)

5.95% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 19/192

$222.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$227.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 11/193

$1.661 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

$1.648 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 12/191

$1.932 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.097 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 10/121

$1.286 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

$1.198 trillion (31 December 2011)

$1.455 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 194/197

-$49.91 billion (2015 est.)

-$43.75 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 27/224

$184.4 billion (2015 est.)

$240.8 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment

Exports - partners

China 33.7%, Japan 18%, South Korea 7.4%, US 4.2% (2014)

Imports 21/223

$208.4 billion (2015 est.)

$240.5 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products

Imports - partners

China 20.5%, US 10.6%, Japan 6.8%, Singapore 5%, Germany 4.7%, South Korea 4.7%, Malaysia 4.4%, Thailand 4.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 38/170

$55 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$53.89 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 14/206

$1.381 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.374 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 15/120

$642.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$593.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 18/105

$475.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$473.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -

1.33 (2015 est.)

1.11 (2014 est.)

1.11 (2013 est.)

0.97 (2012 est.)

0.97 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 19/220

235.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 18/219

222.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 102/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 118/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 16/214

63.25 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 95/214

78.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 44/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 109/214

12.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 49/212

7.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 31/214

354,300 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 29/214

235,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 20/214

461,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 40/215

1.193 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 28/214

630,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 21/212

1.082 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 55/214

53,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 17/213

424,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 15/216

62.72 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 25/215

38.79 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 11/215

31.62 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 30/214

6.937 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 23/212

1.219 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 17/212

420.6 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 22/219

total subscriptions: 9.19 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 41 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 39/217

total: 31 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 138 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent domestic and international service

domestic: domestic satellite system; significant use of radiotelephone in areas of low population density; rapid growth of mobile telephones

international: country code - 61; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable with links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Southern Cross fiber optic submarine cable provides links to New Zealand and the United States; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (4 Indian Ocean and 6 Pacific Ocean), 2 Inmarsat, 2 Globalstar, 5 other) (2007)

Broadcast media

the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) runs multiple national and local radio networks and TV stations, as well as Australia Network, a TV service that broadcasts throughout the Asia-Pacific region and is the main public broadcaster; Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), a second large public broadcaster, operates radio and TV networks broadcasting in multiple languages; several large national commercial TV networks, a large number of local commercial TV stations, and hundreds of commercial radio stations are accessible; cable and satellite systems are available (2008)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 262, FM 345, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

104 (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 8/232

17.081 million (2012)

Internet users 28/217

total: 20.2 million

percent of population: 89.6% (2014 est.)


Airports 16/236

480 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 349

over 3,047 m: 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 14

1,524 to 2,437 m: 155

914 to 1,523 m: 155

under 914 m: 14 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 131

1,524 to 2,437 m: 16

914 to 1,523 m: 101

under 914 m: 14 (2013)


1 (2013)


condensate/gas 637 km; gas 30,054 km; liquid petroleum gas 240 km; oil 3,609 km; oil/gas/water 110 km; refined products 72 km (2013)

Railways 7/136

total: 36,967.5 km

broad gauge: 3,727 km 1.600-m gauge (372 km electrified)

standard gauge: 18,727 km 1.435-m gauge (650 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 14,513.5 km 1.067-m gauge (2,075.5 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 9/223

total: 823,217 km

paved: 356,343 km

unpaved: 466,874 km (2011)

Waterways 42/107

2,000 km (mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling river systems) (2011)

Merchant marine 75/156

total: 41

by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 7, liquefied gas 4, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 5

foreign-owned: 17 (Canada 5, Germany 2, Singapore 2, South Africa 1, UK 5, US 2)

registered in other countries: 25 (Bahamas 1, Dominica 1, Fiji 2, Liberia 1, Netherlands 1, Panama 4, Singapore 12, Tonga 1, UK 1, US 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle, Geelong, Gladstone, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Adelaide, Port Kembla, Sydney

dry bulk cargo port(s): Dampier (iron ore), Dalrymple Bay (coal), Hay Point (coal), Port Hedland (iron ore), Port Walcott (iron ore)

container port(s) (TEUs): Brisbane (1,004,983), Melbourne (2,467,967), Sydney (2,028,074)(2011)

LNG terminal(s) (export): Darwin, Karratha, Burrup, Curtis Island

Military and Security

Military branches

Australian Defense Force (ADF): Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy (includes Naval Aviation Force), Royal Australian Air Force, Joint Operations Command (JOC) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in most combat roles, except the Army special forces (2013)

Military expenditures 50/132

1.71% of GDP (2012)

1.84% of GDP (2011)

1.71% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

In 2007, Australia and Timor-Leste agreed to a 50-year development zone and revenue sharing arrangement and deferred a maritime boundary; Australia asserts land and maritime claims to Antarctica; Australia's 2004 submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) extends its continental margins over 3.37 million square kilometers, expanding its seabed roughly 30 percent beyond its claimed exclusive economic zone; all borders between Indonesia and Australia have been agreed upon bilaterally, but a 1997 treaty that would settle the last of their maritime and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundary has yet to be ratified by Indonesia's legislature; Indonesian groups challenge Australia's claim to Ashmore Reef; Australia closed parts of the Ashmore and Cartier reserve to Indonesian traditional fishing

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 7,675 (Afghanistan) (2014)

Illicit drugs

Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines