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Australian Facts

Australia is an island continent of approximately 7,686,850 km2.  It is the 6th largest country in the world and has the lowest population density per square kilometer. (2.6/km2, as compared with Germany, 231/km2).  Due to the dry, desert-like interior of the country, over 90% of the population (22 millions plus in total) live in the coastal areas.  With over 10,000 beaches around the coastline of the country, swimming, surfing and many other watersports are very popular with a large number of the population, particular in the Summer months (December-February) when the annual holidays occur. 

Australia is a federal parliamentary democracy, comprising 6 States and 2 Territories:

The capital city of Australia is Canberra, located in the ACT. 

Each State and Territory is responsible for the management of a number of services and facilities including education (except tertiary/Universities), public transport,roads, some industrial and labour relations laws, land management.  Health is shared jointly with the Federal Government. 

Please note: each State and Territory have their own individual websites, which are easily accessible. 

 

There are multiple time zones across Australia with Daylight Saving/Summer time resulting in an additional change during the Summer, early Autumn period (November-March).  From Germany, France, The Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland the time difference ranges from +6 hours in Western Australia to +8 hours in Victoria and New South Wales. During winter they range from +8 to +10 hours respectively. 

 

English is the national language and English is the main language used in schools.There are over 200 languages and indigenous dialects spoken, which reflects the broad and diverse range of people from all over the world who have moved to Australia.  Other than English, the most commonly spoken languages are Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

 

The currency is Australian Dollars (AUD). 

 

Australia has a unique appeal, with a temperate climate and a high standard of living.  People, are encouraged to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and participate in sport and cultural activities regularly. Australians are regarded as optimistic, independent, relaxed and honest, the way of life has evolved over the years to be far less formal and structured than in Europe.  The ethos of "mateship" is a special bond of friendship and is a strong ingredient in society, underpinning many social behaviours. 

 

Reflecting the vast size of the continent is the diverse range of terrain, climate and vegetation.  Regarded as the oldest continent on earth, Australia separated from other landmasses over 40 million years ago.  This has resulted in much of the exotic flora and fauna being unique to the country. There are 16 world heritage listed sites. 

 

The health and education systems are regarded on a world scale as being of a high standard.  There is political and economic stability.  Internationally the economy is identified as successful, with reasonable growth and development.  Investment in technology for the future is nominated as very important.  An abundance of natural resources currently underpins the growth of the economy and the high standard of living.

 

The Australian Government provides a national medical support system known as "Medicare".  This is available to all Australian citizens and holders of Permanent Residence Visas.  Kindergarten, primary and secondary education are run by the individual State Governments'.  School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 to 17 years of age.

 

Immigration has been critical to the  growth and development of the country since 1945.  Almost 25% of the current population has come from overseas in the last 3 generations.  This has resulted in a society which has highly sophisticated food, wine and hospitality industries. 

 

Culture and customs reflect the wide range of nationalities who have migrated here.  The indigenous "Dreamtime" (belief that events beyond living memory shape the spiritual, moral and physical world) is the foundation of tens of thousands of years of aboriginal heritage and culture.