Below provides a profile of the Australian market and interesting facts and information about issues important to both local and foreign executives working in the region.
You'll also find helpful links to other areas of interest.
Australia lies in the Southern Hemisphere and comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea are to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast. At 7,686,850km2, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world by area.
Much of the centre of Australia is uninhabited desert, with the majority of the population of 22.5 million, and 60 per cent concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The nation's capital city is Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.
A prosperous developed country, Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy. Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance such as human development, quality of life, health care, life expectancy, public education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, OECD, APEC, Pacific Islands Forum and the World Trade Organization.
The economy of Australia is heavily services orientated, with 68% of the GDP generated by the services sector. Manufacturing is also a significant sector in Australia, although the sector has been in long term decline due to strong competition from developing economies.
Australia has a rich endowment of natural and mineral wealth, and has over the current decade derived considerable strength from global growth in demand for commodities. It is a major exporter of natural gas, coal, uranium, gold, iron ore, bauxite, silver, copper, tin and zinc. Historically, Australia “grew rich on the sheep’s back”, and it remains the world’s biggest producer of wool. Although the mining and agricultural sectors are relatively small, together consisting of around 4.7% of GDP, they contribute around 65% of total exports.
Although exports in Australia are dominated by mining and agricultural output, tertiary industries such as education and tourism are experiencing strong growth. Australia's largest export markets are Japan, China, the US, South Korea, and New Zealand.
Sydney is the largest city in Australia, with a population of over 4.58 million. Nicknamed “the Harbour City”, it is home to some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and Bondi Beach. The city’s mild climate and spectacular geography have seen the development of an active, outdoor lifestyle for “Sydneysiders” as residents are colloquially known. Climate and lifestyle are just two of the factors which has seen Sydney regularly rank amongst the 10 most livable cities in the world.
Further contributing to Sydney’s livability is its vibrant cultural life and record of hosting major events of global significance, most notably the 2000 Olympic Games. A diverse variety of annual cultural and sporting events fill the city’s busy calendar, and a number of major cultural institutions are based in the city, including Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony. Both of these are headquartered in the world famous Sydney Opera House, one of the most distinctive and instantly recognisable buildings in the world.
Economically, Sydney is a major regional business hub and centre of banking and finance. Both the Australian Securities Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia are headquartered in the city, as are around 90 banks, and more than half of Australia’s top companies, including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Woolworths and Caltex Australia, 4 of the 10 largest corporations in Australia. Along with the finance sector, strong retail, manufacturing, health, information and business services sectors mean that Sydney contributes around 25% of Australia’s total GDP.
Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city behind Sydney, with a population of around 4.01 million. The architecture, character and culture of the city have been heavily shaped by its history, having developed as a major commercial and transport hub during the Victorian gold rush which began in the 1850’s. By the 1880’s, the city had grown and transformed into one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world. Today, it regularly ranks within the 5 most livable cities in the world, having headed the Economist’s list 3 times, most recently in 2005.
Melbourne is widely recognised as the sporting and cultural capital of Australia. Seating over 100,000 people, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground has hosted the Olympic Games (1956) and Commonwealth Games (2006). The city also hosts a number of international events on an annual basis, including the Australian Open tennis tournament, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the Melbourne Cup, one of the richest horse races in the world. In addition, strong cultural institutions and annual events such as the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Melbourne Fashion Festival and Melbourne Winter Masterpieces art show fill the city’s busy calendar and contribute to its vibrant diversity.
Melbourne is a major commercial and financial centre for the Asia-Pacific region. The ANZ and National Australia Bank, two of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks are headquartered in the city, as are BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Telstra, 3 of Australia’s other 10 largest corporations. It is a major manufacturing centre and technology hub, with an information and communications technology sector that employs a third of Australia’s ICT workforce. The city is served by Australia’s largest and busiest seaport, which handles over $75 billion a year in trade.
Although the mining and agricultural sectors are relatively small, together consisting of around 10.3% of GDP, they contribute around 60% of total exports.
Sydney - population 4.61 million
Sydney contributes around 20% of Australia's total GDP.
Melbourne - population 4.17 million
Today, it regularly ranks within the 5 most livable cities in the world, having headed the Economist's list for the past two consecutive years. The city is served by Australia's largest and busiest seaport, which handles over $80 billion a year in trade.
Federal Parliamentary Democracy
Other Major Cites
Perth (Western Australia), Brisbane (Queensland), Adelaide (South Australia), Hobart (Tasmania), Darwin (Northern Territory)