Oceania: Australia

About Australia

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 an independent republic, was defeated in 1999.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Canberra
Population: 19,357,594 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: N/A%
Language: English, native languages
Date of independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of UK co
Form of government: democratic, federal-state system re
Title of Leader: prime minister
Natural Resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
Environmental Issues: 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 an
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry
Imports: machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products
Exports: coal, gold, meat, wool, alumina, iron ore, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: EU 24%, US 22%, Japan 14%, ASEAN 13% (1999)
EXPORTS: Japan 19%, EU 14%, ASEAN 12%, US 9%, South Korea, NZ, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China (1999)


Australia Headlines


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