Top banner
The World Factbook 2002 Banner

Flag of Australia
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Australia

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Australia
Definition Field Listing
Australia became a commonwealth of the British Empire in 1901. It was able to take advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop its agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef. A referendum to change Australia's status, from a commonwealth headed by the British monarch to a republic, was defeated in 1999.
   Geography    Australia
Definition Field Listing
Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
27 00 S, 133 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 7,686,850 sq km
water: 68,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
land: 7,617,930 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Definition Field Listing
25,760 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
Definition Field Listing
generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
Definition Field Listing
mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 6.88%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 93.09% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
24,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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 fresh water resources
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; regular, tropical, invigorating, sea breeze known as "the Doctor" occurs along the west coast in the summer
   People    Australia
Definition Field Listing
19,546,792 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 20.4% (male 2,046,052; female 1,949,725)
15-64 years: 67% (male 6,610,840; female 6,480,354)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 1,078,506; female 1,381,315) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.96% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
12.71 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
7.25 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 80 years
female: 83 years (2002 est.)
male: 77.15 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
14,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
100 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Australian(s)
adjective: Australian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%
Definition Field Listing
Anglican 26.1%, Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 24.3%, non-Christian 11%, other 12.6%
Definition Field Listing
English, native languages
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (1980 est.)
   Government    Australia
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Dependent areas:
Definition Field Listing
Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island
Definition Field Listing
1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Definition Field Listing
9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter HOLLINGWORTH (since 29 June 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March 1996); Deputy Prime Minister John ANDERSON (since 20 July 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet Parliament nominates, from among its members, a list of candidates to serve as government ministers; from this list, the governor general makes the final selections for the Cabinet
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general
note: government coalition - Liberal Party and National Party
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats - 12 from each of the six states and two from each of the two mainland territories; one-half of the members elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (150 seats - this is up from 148 seats in 2001 election; members elected by popular vote on the basis of preferential representation to serve three-year terms; no state can have fewer than five representatives)
elections: Senate - last held 10 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2004); House of Representatives - last held 10 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2004)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 35, Australian Labor Party 28, Australian Democrats 8, Green Party 2, One Nation Party 1, Country Labor Party 1, independent 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 82, Australian Labor Party 65, independent and other 3
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
High Court (the chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Australian Democrats [Andrew BARTLETT]; Australian Labor Party [Simon CREAN]; Country Labor Party [leader NA]; Australian Greens [Bob BROWN]; Liberal Party [John Winston HOWARD]; National Party [John ANDERSON]; One Nation Party [Pauline HANSON]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Australian Monarchist League [leader NA]; Australian Republican Movement [leader NA]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. THAWLEY
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador J. Thomas SCHIEFFER
embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600
mailing address: APO AP 96549
telephone: [61] (02) 6214-5600
FAX: [61] (02) 6214-5970
consulate(s) general: Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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; the remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars
   Economy    Australia
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Australia has a prosperous Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Rising output in the domestic economy has been offsetting the global slump, and business and consumer confidence remains robust. Canberra's emphasis on reforms is another key factor behind the economy's strength. The stagnant economic conditions in major export partners and the impact of the worst drought in 100 years cast a shadow over prospects for 2003.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $528 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.6% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $27,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3%
industry: 26%
services: 71% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 25% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
35 (1994)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
2.8% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
9.2 million (December 2001 )
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
services 73%, industry 22%, agriculture 5% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.3% (2002)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $86.8 billion
expenditures: $84.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 est. )
Definition Field Listing
mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.3% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
202.68 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 90%
hydro: 8%
other: 2% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
188.49 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry
Definition Field Listing
$66.3 billion (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
coal, gold, meat, wool, alumina, iron ore, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Developing countries 45.6%, Japan 19.7%, ASEAN 13.3%, EU 11.7%, US 9.7% (2001)
Definition Field Listing
$68 billion (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Developing countries 31.7%, EU 21.6%, US 18.9%, ASEAN 14.8%, Japan 13.0% (2001)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$176.8 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $894 million (FY99/00 )
Definition Field Listing
Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.9354 (January 2002), 1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Australia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
10.05 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
8.6 million (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: excellent domestic and international service
domestic: domestic satellite system; much use of radiotelephone in areas of low population density; rapid growth of mobile cellular telephones
international: submarine cables to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (4 Indian Ocean and 6 Pacific Ocean), 2 Inmarsat (Indian and Pacific Ocean regions) (1998)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 262, FM 345, shortwave 1 (1998)
Definition Field Listing
25.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
104 (1997)
Definition Field Listing
10.15 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
571 (2002)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
10.63 million (2002)
   Transportation    Australia
Definition Field Listing
total: 33,819 km (2,540 km electrified)
broad gauge: 3,719 km 1.600-m gauge
narrow gauge: 14,506 km 1.067-m gauge
standard gauge: 15,422 km 1.435-m gauge
dual gauge: 172 km NA gauges (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
total: 913,000 km
paved: 353,331 km (including 1,363 km of expressways)
unpaved: 559,669 km (1996)
Definition Field Listing
8,368 km (mainly used by small, shallow-draft craft)
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 2,500 km; petroleum products 500 km; natural gas 5,600 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Devonport (Tasmania), Fremantle, Geelong, Hobart (Tasmania), Launceston (Tasmania), Mackay, Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 55 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,469,362 GRT/1,869,262 DWT
ships by type: bulk 26, cargo 5, chemical tanker 4, container 1, liquefied gas 4, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 6, includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: France 2, United Kingdom 2, United States 14 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
421 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 294
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 126
914 to 1,523 m: 134
under 914 m: 13 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 150
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 116
under 914 m: 14 (2002)
   Military    Australia
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
17 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 5,013,406 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 4,321,387 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 142,686 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$9.3 billion (FY01/02 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
2% (FY01/02)
   Transnational Issues    Australia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Australia-East Timor-Indonesia are working to resolve maritime boundary and sharing of seabed resources in "Timor Gap"; Australia asserts a territorial claim to Antarctica and to its continental shelf
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Bottom Banner