[Country map of Australia]

Map ©1996 NGS Cartographic Division. Developed in association with GeoSystems Global Corp.


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

Map references: Oceania

total area: 7,686,850 sq km
land area: 7,617,930 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than the US
note: includes Macquarie Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 25,760 km

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

Terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast

Natural resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 58%
forest and woodland: 14%
other: 22%

Irrigated land: 18,800 sq km (1989 est.)


Population: 18,322,231 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (female 1,929,366; male 2,032,238)
15-64 years: 67% (female 6,017,362; male 6,181,887)
65 years and over: 11% (female 1,227,004; male 934,374) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.31% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 14.13 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.37 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 6.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.78 years
male: 74.67 years
female: 81.04 years (1995est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.82 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Australian(s)
adjective: Australian

Ethnic divisions: Caucasian 95%, Asian 4%, aboriginal and other 1%

Religions: Anglican 26.1%, Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 24.3%

Languages: English, native languages

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1980 est.)
total population: 100%
female: 100%

Labor force: 8.63 million (September 1991)
by occupation: finance and services 33.8%, public and community services 22.3%, wholesale and retail trade 20.1%, manufacturing and industry 16.2%, agriculture 6.1% (1987)


conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia

Digraph: AS

Type: federal parliamentary state

Capital: Canberra

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

Independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)

National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788)

Constitution: 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901

Legal system: based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General William George HAYDEN (since 16 February 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Paul John KEATING (since 20 December 1991); Deputy Prime Minister Brian HOWE (since 4 June 1991)
cabinet: Cabinet; prime minister selects his cabinet from members of the House and Senate

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Parliament
Senate: elections last held 13 March 1993 (next to be held by NA 1996); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (76 total) Liberal-National 36, Labor 30, Australian Democrats 7, Greens 2, independents 1
House of Representatives: elections last held 13 March 1993 (next to be held by NA 1996); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (147 total) Labor 80, Liberal-National 65, independent 2

Judicial branch: High Court

Political parties and leaders:
government: Australian Labor Party, Paul John KEATING
opposition: Liberal Party, John HOWARD; National Party, Timothy FISCHER; Australian Democratic Party, Cheryl KERNOT; Green Party, leader NA


Overview: Australia has a prosperous Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP comparable to levels in industrialized West European countries. Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, minerals, metals, and fossil fuels. Primary products account for more than 60% of the value of total exports, so that, as in 1983-84, a downturn in world commodity prices can have a big impact on the economy. The government is pushing for increased exports of manufactured goods, but competition in international markets continues to be severe. Australia has suffered from the low growth and high unemployment characterizing the OECD countries in the early 1990s. In 1992-93 the economy recovered slowly from the prolonged recession of 1990-91, a majorrestraining factor being weak world demand for Australia's exports. Growth picked up so strongly in 1994 that the government felt the need for fiscal and monetary tightening by yearend. Australia's GDP grew 6.4% in 1994, largely due to increases in industrial output and business investment. A severe drought in 1994 is expected to reduce the value of Australia's net farm production by $825 million in the twelve months through June 1995, but rising world commodity prices are likely to boost rural exports by 7.7% to $14.5 billion in 1995/96, according to government statistics.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $374.6 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 6.4% (1994)

National product per capita: $20,720 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 8.9% (December 1994)

revenues: $83.8 billion
expenditures: $92.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY93/94)

Exports: $50.4 billion (1994)
commodities: coal, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
partners: Japan 25%, US 11%, South Korea 6%, NZ 5.7%, UK, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong (1992)

Imports: $51.1 billion (1994)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, crude oil and petroleum products
partners: US 23%, Japan 18%, UK 6%, Germany 5.7%, NZ 4% (1992)

External debt: $147.2 billion (1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.9% (FY93/94); accounts for 32% of GDP

capacity: 34,540,000 kW
production: 155 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 8,021 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 5% of GDP and over 30% of export revenues; world's largest exporter of beef and wool, second-largest for mutton, and among top wheat exporters; major crops - wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruit; livestock - cattle, sheep, poultry

Currency:1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


total: 40,478 km (1,130 km electrified; 183 km dual gauge)
broad gauge: 7,970 km 1.600-m gauge
standard gauge: 16,201 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 16,307 km 1.067-m gauge

total: 837,872 km
paved: 243,750 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, stabilized earth 228,396 km; unimproved earth 365,726 km

Inland waterways: 8,368 km; mainly by small, shallow-draft craft

Pipelines: crude oil 2,500 km; petroleum products 500 km; natural gas 5,600 km

Ports: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Devonport, Fremantle, Geelong, Hobart (Tasmania), Launceton (Tasmania), Mackay, Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville

Merchant marine:
total: 81 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,620,536 GRT/3,801,970 DWT
ships by type: bulk 30, cargo 7, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 2, container 7, liquefied gas tanker 6, oil tanker 18, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, short-sea passenger 1

total: 480
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 9
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 128
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 125
with paved runways under 914 m: 31
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 23
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 149

Flag by Dream Maker Software, Inc.
Information obtained from CIA, The World Factbook 1995