The Australia-China relationship then and now

The Australia-China relationship has changed tremendously since the establishment of formal relations between Australia and China in 1972 and the establishment of the Australia-China Council in 1978.

  • In 1972, two-way trade between Australia and China was worth less than $100 million. In the year the Australia-China Council was established this had grown to around $581 million and has now increased to $183 billion - making China Australia's #1 trading partner. The Free-Trade Agreement, signed in 2015, is seen as the jewel in the crown of the economic relationship between both countries.
  • Community and cultural links continue to develop. This year marks 200 years of Chinese migration to Australia and Chinese is now the second most spoken language in Australia after English.
  • According to the 2016 census, over 500,000 Australian citizens and residents were born in China.
  • Two-way tourism is booming at nearly 2 million visitors over the last year from a negligent amount in 1978.
  • Chinese student numbers in Australia are up to over 170,000 at present from just over five in 1978.
Last Updated: 6 December 2018