About Australia

Australia is a stable, democratic and culturally diverse nation with a highly skilled workforce and one of the strongest performing economies in the world.

With spectacular landscapes and a rich ancient culture, Australia is a land like no other. It is the earth's sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent.

Australia in Brief publication

The cover image for the booklet. It depicts a painting, Jilji 2007, and has an area in the top right corner that contains the title: Australia in Brief.

Australia in Brief provides an authoritative overview of Australia's history, the land, its people and their way of life. It also looks at Australia's economic, scientific and cultural achievements and its foreign, trade and defence policies.

Australia in Brief

Australia is a country of striking landscapes, a rich ancient culture and one of the world's strongest economies. It is the sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent.

With a spectacular natural environment, high quality of life and great diversity, Australia is a sought after destination for international tourists. It has 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity and a great number of its native plants and animals exist nowhere else on earth. From tropical rainforests in the north to the red deserts of the centre, from the snowfields of the south-east to the Australian Antarctic Territory, it is a vast and varied land. Australia has many World Heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour (Ellenor Argyropoulos, Tourism Australia)

Did you know?

Sydney is the world's most popular destination for international students.

Australia is home to one of the world's oldest living cultures, with Aboriginal communities established nearly 60,000 years before European settlement. Today, Australia is one of the world's most multicultural countries, rich in Indigenous and immigrant cultures. Australia is a successful and prosperous nation, ranked second in the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2014.

Australia's economy is consistently ranked among the strongest of advanced economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is the world's twelfth largest economy and a top performing nation on almost every measure of excellence, from health to wealth, from ease of doing business to educational attainment.

With low unemployment, low inflation and a highly skilled workforce, and with strong links with the fastest-growing region in the world, the Indo-Pacific, Australia's economy is set to prosper well into the future.

Did you know?

Australia is the fourth largest economy in the Asian region and is the 12th largest economy in the world.

Australia is a nation of boundless opportunity in a country of endless potential—a nation that is 'open for business'.

Australia's foreign and trade policy promotes its security and long-term prosperity. It seeks to protect and advance its national interests in a rapidly changing environment, while supporting a stable global order. Australia has been integrally involved in global efforts to build peace and security for decades, just as it has in promoting global trade and investment liberalisation. Australia is a good international citizen, helping in times of crisis and supporting economic development in its region.

Snapshot of Australia

Full Title

Commonwealth of Australia


23 Million (December 2013)

Proportion of Population Born Overseas

28% (June 2013)

Proportion of Population Who Identify as Being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Origin

2.5% (2011)

Capital City


Largest City

Sydney Population 4.67 million (2013)

Surface Area

7.69 million sq kms (2.96 million sq miles)

Main language

English + more than 300 others


Australian dollar (AUD)

Life Expectancy

84 years (women) 80 years (men)

Gross Domestic Product Per Capita

A$67,100 (2013)


12.3 million (June 2014)

Inflation Rate

3% (June 2014)

Value of Exports of Goods and Services

A$318.5 billion (2013)

Major Goods and Services Exports

Iron ores and concentrates, coal, natural gas, education travel services, gold

Major Imports

Recreational travel services, crude petroleum, passenger motor vehicles, refined petroleum, freight transport services

Main Trading Partners

China, Japan, United States, Republic of Korea, Singapore

National Day

Australia Day: 26 January


Eastern: GMT+10hrs Central: GMT+9.5hrs Western: GMT+8hrs

Households with Internet Access

83% (June 2013)

International Students

410,925 (2013)

Sunset at Mindil Beach, Darwin
Sunset at Mindil Beach, Darwin (Allan Dixon, Tourism Australia)