Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the Allied effort in World Wars I and II.
In recent decades, Australia has become an internationally competitive, advanced market economy due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s and its location in one of the fastest growing regions of the world economy. Long-term concerns include an aging population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as floods, droughts, and bushfires. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, making it particularly vulnerable to the challenges of climate change. Australia is home to 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity, and a great number of its flora and fauna exist nowhere else in the world.



Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates

27 00 S, 133 00 E

Map references



total: 7,741,220 sq km
land: 7,682,300 sq km
water: 58,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states

Land boundaries

0 km


25,760 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north


mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast


mean elevation: 330 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m

Natural resources

bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
note: Australia is the world's largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports

Land use

agricultural land: 53.4%
arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 47.1%
forest: 19.3%
other: 27.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

25,500 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
volcanism: volcanic activity on Heard and McDonald Islands

Environment - current 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 animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural freshwater resources

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; the largest country in Oceania, the largest country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest country without land borders; the only continent without glaciers; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world

People and Society

Population growth rate

1.05% (2016 est.)


22,992,654 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Australian(s)
adjective: Australian

Ethnic groups

English 25.9%, Australian 25.4%, Irish 7.5%, Scottish 6.4%, Italian 3.3%, German 3.2%, Chinese 3.1%, Indian 1.4%, Greek 1.4%, Dutch 1.2%, other 15.8% (includes Australian aboriginal .5%), unspecified 5.4%
note: data represents self-identified ancestry, over a third of respondents reported two ancestries (2011 est.)


English 76.8%, Mandarin 1.6%, Italian 1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Greek 1.2%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.1%, other 10.4%, unspecified 5% (2011 est.)


Protestant 30.1% (Anglican 17.1%, Uniting Church 5.0%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.8%, Baptist, 1.6%, Lutheran 1.2%, Pentecostal 1.1%, other Protestant 1.3%), Catholic 25.3% (Roman Catholic 25.1%, other Catholic 0.2%), other Christian 2.9%, Orthodox 2.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Muslim 2.2%, Hindu 1.3%, other 1.3%, none 22.3%, unspecified 9.3% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.84% (male 2,105,433/female 1,997,433)
15-24 years: 12.96% (male 1,528,993/female 1,451,340)
25-54 years: 41.55% (male 4,862,591/female 4,691,975)
55-64 years: 11.82% (male 1,347,780/female 1,369,501)
65 years and over: 15.82% (male 1,684,339/female 1,953,269) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.9%
youth dependency ratio: 28.2%
elderly dependency ratio: 22.7%
potential support ratio: 4.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 38.6 years
male: 37.8 years
female: 39.4 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

12.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

7.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

5.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 89.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.47% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Sydney 4.505 million; Melbourne 4.203 million; Brisbane 2.202 million; Perth 1.861 million; Adelaide 1.256 million; CANBERRA (capital) 423,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

9.4% of GDP (2014)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.2 years
male: 79.8 years
female: 84.8 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.77 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

note: percent of women aged 18-44 (2005)

Physicians density

3.27 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

3.9 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.16% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

26,900 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

200 (2015 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

29.9% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

0.2% (2007)

Education expenditures

5.3% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 20 years
male: 20 years
female: 21 years (2013)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.5 (2006 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 13.3%
male: 14.1%
female: 12.5% (2014 est.)


Government type

parliamentary democracy (Federal Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Canberra
geographic coordinates: 35 16 S, 149 08 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends first Sunday in April
note: Australia has three time zones

Administrative divisions

6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

Dependent areas

Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island


1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)

National holiday

Australia Day (commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Australian settlers), 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorates the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)


9 July 1900; effective 1 January 1901; amended several times, last in 1977; note - a referendum to amend the constitution to reflect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013 is planned for early 2017 (2016)

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Peter COSGROVE (since 28 March 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Malcolm TURNBULL (since 15 September 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby JOYCE (since 18 February 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and sworn in by the governor general
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the 6 states and 2 each from the 2 mainland territories; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of state membership renewed every 3 years and territory membership renewed every 3 years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority preferential vote; members serve terms of up to 3 years)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 July 2016; House of Representatives - last held on 2 July 2016; this election represents a rare double dissolution where all 226 seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives are up for reelection
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party NA - awaiting final results; seats by party NA - awaiting final results; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party Liberal/National Coalition 42.14%, ALP 34.91%, The Greens 9.93%, Katter's Australian Party 0.55%, Nick Xenophon Team 1.86%, independents 2.85%; seats by party Liberal/National Coalition 77, ALP 68, The Greens 1, Katter's Australian Party 1, Nick Xenophon Team 1, independents 2

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court of Australia (consists of 7 justices, including the chief justice); note - each of the 6 states, 2 territories, and Norfolk Island has a Supreme Court; the High Court is the final appellate court beyond the state and territory supreme courts
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general in council for life with mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: subordinate courts: subordinate courts at the federal level: Federal Court; Federal Magistrates' Courts of Australia; Family Court; subordinate courts at the state and territory level: Local Court - New South Wales; Magistrates' Courts – Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory; District Courts – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia; County Court – Victoria; Family Court – Western Australia; Court of Petty Sessions – Norfolk Island

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (composed of five stars: four large seven-pointed stars, one small five-pointed star), kangaroo, emu; national colors: green, gold

Political parties and leaders

Australian Greens Party [Richard DI NATALE]
Australian Labor Party [Bill SHORTEN]
Country Liberal Party or CLP [Gary HIGGINS]
Family First Party [Bob DAY]
Katter's Australian Party [Bob KATTER]
Liberal National Party of Queensland or LNP [Timothy NICHOLLS]
Liberal Party [Malcolm TURNBULL]
National Party of Australia [Barnaby JOYCE]
Palmer United Party or PUP [Clive PALMER]

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: business groups, environmental groups, social groups, trade unions

International organization participation

ADB, ANZUS, APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CP, EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-20, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF, SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), Sparteca, SPC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph Benedict HOCKEY (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Morrell John BERRY (since 25 September 2013)
embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600
mailing address: APO AP 96549
telephone: [61] (02) 6214-5600
FAX: [61] (02) 6214-5970
consulate(s) general: Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small, five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars

National anthem

name: "Advance Australia Fair"
lyrics/music: Peter Dodds McCORMICK
note: adopted 1984; although originally written in the late 19th century, the anthem was not used for all official occasions until 1984; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" is also played at Royal functions (see United Kingdom)


Industrial production growth rate

2% (2016 est.)

Economy - overview

Following two decades of continuous growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, very low public debt, and a strong and stable financial system, Australia enters 2017 facing a range of growth constraints, principally driven by the sharp fall in global p

The services sector is the largest part of the Australian economy, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of jobs. Australia was comparatively unaffected by the global financial crisis as the banking system has remained strong and inflation is under cont

Australia benefited from a dramatic surge in its terms of trade in recent years, although this trend has reversed due to falling global commodity prices. Australia is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food. Australia's abundant and

Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. The process of opening up has increased productivity, stimulated growth, and made the economy more flexible and dynamic. Australia plays an active role in the World Tr

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.189 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.156 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.128 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.257 trillion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

2.9% (2016 est.)
2.4% (2015 est.)
2.7% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$48,800 (2016 est.)
$48,300 (2015 est.)
$47,800 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

21.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
22.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
23.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 58.5%
government consumption: 18.7%
investment in fixed capital: 24.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 19.4%
imports of goods and services: -20.9% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 28.2%
services: 68.2% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry


mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel

Labor force

12.63 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 21.1%
services: 75.3% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.8% (2016 est.)
6.1% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 25.4% (1994)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

30.3 (2008)
35.2 (1994)


revenues: $420.5 billion
expenditures: $446.4 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

33.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

46.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.4% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

3% (28 February 2013)
4.35% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the Reserve Bank of Australia's "cash rate target," or policy rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

5.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
5.58% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$245.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$223.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.661 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.648 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$2.158 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.986 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$1.187 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.289 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.366 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$43.85 billion (2016 est.)
-$57.98 billion (2015 est.)


$184.3 billion (2016 est.)
$188.3 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment

Exports - partners

China 32.2%, Japan 15.9%, South Korea 7.1%, US 5.4%, India 4.2% (2015)


$203.1 billion (2016 est.)
$207.7 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products

Imports - partners

China 23%, US 11.2%, Japan 7.4%, South Korea 5.5%, Thailand 5.1%, Germany 4.6% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$54.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$49.27 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$1.692 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.524 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$614.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$582.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$441.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$437.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.352 (2016 est.)
1.3291 (2015 est.)
1.3291 (2014 est.)
1.1094 (2013 est.)
0.97 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

235 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

224 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

67 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

78.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

12.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

7.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

322,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

248,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

332,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

1.2 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

481,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

1.116 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

42,730 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

546,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

62.64 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

38.51 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

31.61 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

6.938 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

860.8 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

385 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 9.08 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 31.77 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 140 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent domestic and international service
domestic: domestic satellite system; significant use of radiotelephone in areas of low population density; rapid growth of mobile telephones
international: country code - 61; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable with links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Southern Cross fiber-optic submarine cable provides links to NZ and the US; satellite earth stations - 10 (2015)

Broadcast media

the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) runs multiple national and local radio networks and TV stations, as well as Australia Network, a TV service that broadcasts throughout the Asia-Pacific region and is the main public broadcaster; Special Broadc (2008)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 19.238 million
percent of population: 84.6% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 11
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 175
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 69,294,187
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,887,295,820 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

VH (2016)


480 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 349
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 14
1,524 to 2,437 m: 155
914 to 1,523 m: 155
under 914 m: 14 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 131
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 101
under 914 m: 14 (2013)


1 (2013)


condensate/gas 637 km; gas 30,054 km; liquid petroleum gas 240 km; oil 3,609 km; oil/gas/water 110 km; refined products 72 km (2013)


total: 36,967.5 km
broad gauge: 3,727 km 1.600-m gauge (372 km electrified)
standard gauge: 18,727 km 1.435-m gauge (650 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 14,513.5 km 1.067-m gauge (2,075.5 km electrified) (2014)


total: 823,217 km
paved: 356,343 km
unpaved: 466,874 km (2011)


2,000 km (mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling river systems) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 41
by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 7, liquefied gas 4, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 5
foreign-owned: 17 (Canada 5, Germany 2, Singapore 2, South Africa 1, UK 5, US 2)
registered in other countries: 25 (Bahamas 1, Dominica 1, Fiji 2, Liberia 1, Netherlands 1, Panama 4, Singapore 12, Tonga 1, UK 1, US 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle, Geelong, Gladstone, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Adelaide, Port Kembla, Sydney
dry bulk cargo port(s): Dampier (iron ore), Dalrymple Bay (coal), Hay Point (coal), Port Hedland (iron ore), Port Walcott (iron ore)
container port(s) (TEUs): Brisbane (1,004,983), Melbourne (2,467,967), Sydney (2,028,074)(2011)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Darwin, Karratha, Burrup, Curtis Island


Military branches

Australian Defense Force (ADF): Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy (includes Naval Aviation Force), Royal Australian Air Force, Joint Operations Command (JOC) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in most combat roles, except the Army special forces (2013)

Military expenditures

1.71% of GDP (2012)
1.84% of GDP (2011)
1.71% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

In 2007, Australia and Timor-Leste agreed to a 50-year development zone and revenue sharing arrangement and deferred a maritime boundary; Australia asserts land and maritime claims to Antarctica; Australia's 2004 submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf extends its continental margins over 3.37 million square kilometers, expanding its seabed roughly 30 percent beyond its claimed EEZ; all borders between Indonesia and Australia have been agreed upon bilaterally, but a 1997 treaty that would settle the last of their maritime and EEZ boundary has yet to be ratified by Indonesia's legislature; Indonesian groups challenge Australia's claim to Ashmore Reef; Australia closed parts of the Ashmore and Cartier reserve to Indonesian traditional fishing

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 7,785 (Afghanistan); 5,201 (Iran) (2015)

Illicit drugs

Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines