Australia

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. All of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829. Independence was achieved in 1901.

Geography

Area

total: 7,741,220 sq km
land: 7,682,300 sq km
water: 58,920 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

26,461,166 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

English 33%, Australian 29.9%, Irish 9.5%, Scottish 8.6%, Chinese 5.5%, Italian 4.4%, German 4%, Indian 3.1%, Australian Aboriginal 2.9%, Greek 1.7%, unspecified 4.7%

(2021 est.)

Languages

English 72%, Mandarin 2.7%, Arabic 1.4%, Vietnamese 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2%, other 15.7%, unspecified 5.7% (2021 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant 18.1% (Anglican 9.8%, Uniting Church 2.6%, Presbyterian and Reformed 1.6%, Baptist 1.4%, Pentecostal 1%, other Protestant 1.7%), other Christian 3.5%, Muslim 3.2%, Hindu 2.7%, Buddhist 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3% (Eastern Orthodox 2.1%, Oriental Orthodox 0.2%), other 2.1%, none 38.4%, unspecified 7.3% (2021 est.)

Population growth rate

1.19% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Canberra

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General David HURLEY (since 1 July 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Anthony ALBANESE (since 23 May 2022)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of:
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)
House of Representatives (151 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority preferential vote; members serve terms of up to 3 years)

Economy

Economic overview

Asian and global economic leader and partner for 3 decades; strong financial sector and highly traded domestic currency support best credit ratings; aging workforce; export-led model; reduced consumer spending offset by government and business; energy investor

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.279 trillion (2021 est.)
$1.251 trillion (2020 est.)
$1.251 trillion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$49,800 (2021 est.)
$48,700 (2020 est.)
$49,400 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, wheat, barley, milk, rapeseed, beef, cotton, grapes, poultry, potatoes

Industries

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

Exports

$389.794 billion (2021 est.)
$300.77 billion (2020 est.)
$342.485 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

China 40%, Japan 14%, South Korea 9%, India 6%, Taiwan 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

iron ore, coal, natural gas, gold, wheat (2021)

Imports

$298.712 billion (2021 est.)
$250.178 billion (2020 est.)
$295.504 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 28%, United States 10%, Japan 6%, Germany 5%, Thailand 5% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, delivery trucks, broadcasting equipment, computers and gold (2021)

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1.331 (2021 est.)
1.453 (2020 est.)
1.439 (2019 est.)
1.338 (2018 est.)
1.305 (2017 est.)


Page last updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024