Australia



Official Country Name
Australia

Australia Overview
Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 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 in the name of Great Britain. 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 British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia Economy
Australia has an enviable Western-style capitalist economy with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Rising output in the domestic economy, robust business and consumer confidence, and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products are fueling the economy. Australia's emphasis on reforms, low inflation, and growing ties with China are other key factors behind the economy's strength. The impact of drought and strong import demand pushed the trade deficit up in recent years, although the trade balance improved in 2006. Housing prices probably peaked in 2005, diminishing the prospect that interest rates would be raised to prevent a speculative bubble. Conservative fiscal policies have kept Australia's budget in surplus since 2002.

Australia Location
Australia is located in Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Region
Australia is located in Australia

Australia Population
Australia has population of 20,264,082 (July 2006 est.)

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

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

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

Ethnic Groups in Australia
Australia has the following ethnic groups - Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%

Australia Religions
Catholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%, Buddhist 1.9%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 12.7%, none 15.3% (2001 Census)

Australia Languages
English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8% (2001 Census)

Australia Capital
Australia capital is Canberra

Australia Currency
Australia currency is Australian dollar

Map of Australia