Statistical information Australia 1989Australia

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Australia in the World
Australia in the World


Australia - Introduction 1989
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Background: Australia became a British commonwealth in 1901. Blessed by rich natural resources, the country enjoyed rapid gains in herding, agriculture, and manufacturing and made a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Australia subsequently developed its minerals, metals, and fossil fuel markets, all of which have become key Australian exports. Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia - Geography 1989
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 25,760 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 12 nm
Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm

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

Terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast


Natural resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, crude oil
Land use

Land use: 6% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 58% meadows and pastures; 14% forest and woodland; 22% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country

Australia - People 1989
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Population: 16,451,955 (July 1989), growth rate 1.2% (1989)

Nationality: noun - Australian(s; adjective - Australian

Ethnic groups: 95% Caucasian, 4% Asian, 1% Aboriginal and other

Languages: English, native languages

Religions: 26.1% Anglican, 26.0% Roman Catholic, 24.3% other Christian

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 15 births/1000 population (1989)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1000 population (1989)

Net migration rate: 4 migrants/1000 population (1989)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: subject to severe droughts and floods; cyclones along coast; limited freshwater availability; irrigated soil degradation; regular, tropical, invigorating, sea breeze known as the doctor occurs along west coast in summer; desertification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 8 deaths/1000 live births (1989)

Life expectancy at birth: 73 years male, 80 years female (1989)

Total fertility rate: 1.9 children born/woman (1989)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 98.5%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Australia - Government 1989
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Country name: conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia

Government type: federal parliamentary state recognizing Elizabeth II as sovereign or head of state

Capital: Canberra

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

Dependent areas: (6) Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island

Independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)

National holiday: Australia Day (last Monday in January), 30 January 1989

Constitution: 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901

Legal system: based on English common law; High Court has jurisdiction over cases involving interpretation of the constitution; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal and compulsory over age 18

Executive branch: Chief of State - Queen ELIZABETH II (since February 1952), represented by Governor General William George HAYDEN (since NA February 1989; Head of Government - Prime Minister Robert James Lee HAWKE (since 11 March 1983)

Legislative branch: Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force

Judicial branch

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ADB, AIOEC, ANZUS, CCC, CIPEC (associate), Colombo Plan, Commonwealth, DAC, ESA, ESCAP, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IATP, IBA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, IPU, IRC, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC - International Whaling Commission, IWC - International Wheat Council, OECD, SPF, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Michael J. COOK; Chancery at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20,036; telephone (202) 797-3,000; there are Australian Consulates General in Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Pago Pago (American Samoa), and San Francisco; US - Ambassador Laurence W. LANE, Jr.; Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2,600 (mailing address is APO San Francisco 6,404; telephone Õ61å (62) 705,000; there are US Consulates General in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, and a Consulate in Brisbane

Flag descriptionflag of Australia: 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; the remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Australia - Economy 1989
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Economy overview: Australia has a diversified economy, with a relatively high level of prosperity. Per capita GDP for 1987 is estimated at $12,580 - comparable to levels in industrialized West European countries. Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, minerals, metals, and fossil fuels. Of the top 25 exports, 21 are primary products, so that, as happened during 1983-84, a downturn in world commodity prices can have a big impact on the economy. Growth in GNP remains sluggish with only a 1.7% increase estimated for 1987 and a similar rate projected for 1988. Unemployment rates remain high at 7%.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 5% of GDP and 37% of export revenues; world's largest exporter of beef and wool, second largest for mutton, and among top wheat exporters; major crops - wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruit; livestock - cattle, sheep, poultry; self-sufficient in food

Industries: mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel, motor vehicles

Industrial production growth rate: 5.6% (FY88)

Labor force: 7,700,000; 33.8% finance and services, 22.3% public and community services, 20.1% wholesale and retail trade, 16.2% manufacturing and industry, 6.1% agriculture (1987)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (December 1988)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $78.7 billion; expenditures $73.8 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY88 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $29.8 billion (f.o.b., FY88)
Commodities: wheat, barley, beef, lamb, dairy products, wool, coal, iron ore
Partners: Japan 26%, US 11%, NZ 6%, South Korea 4%, Singapore 4%, USSR 3%

Imports: $32.1 billion (c.i.f., FY88)
Commodities: manufactured raw materials, capital equipment, consumer goods
Partners: US 22%, Japan 22%, UK 7%, FRG 6%, NZ 4% (1984)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $79.6 billion (September 1988)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1 - 1.1493 (January 1989), 1.2752 (1988), 1.4267 (1987), 1.4905 (1986), 1.4269 (1985)

Australia - Energy 1989
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Australia - Communication 1989
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Australia - Military 1989
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $5.262 billion, 10% of central government budget (FY88 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Australia - Transportation 1989
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 564 total, 524 usable; 231 with permanent-surface runways, 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 20 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 311 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: crude oil, 2,500 km; refined products, 500 km; natural gas, 5,600 km



Waterways: 8,368 km; mainly by small, shallow-draft craft

Merchant marine: 72 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,016,690 GRT/3,299,496 DWT; includes 2 passenger, 5 cargo, 3 container, 10 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 15 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 chemical tanker, 2 liquefied gas, 1 combination ore/oil, 2 livestock carrier, 30 bulk

Ports and terminals

Australia - Transnational issues 1989
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Disputes international: territorial claim in Antarctica (Australian Antarctic Territory)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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