Australia has a very stable and competitive economy recording growth averaging 3.3% per year in each year since 1992. This sustained growth places Australia in the top ranks of developed countries in terms of economic growth.
As a direct result of sound economic management, the Commonwealth government has in the past few years been able to retire substantial debt, such that in 2005-06, Australia became a net creditor nation. Some State governments also have been able to retire government debt.
Monetary policy is overseen by the Reserve Bank of Australia, a statutory authority. The Reserve Bank is wholly owned by the Commonwealth government to which all profits accrue. The assets of the Bank, which include Australia's gold holdings and foreign exchange, are currently valued at approximately A$132 billion.
One of the main objectives of the Reserve Bank is to maintain low and stable inflation.
Currency Australia's currency is known as the Australian dollar with the currency code being AUD. Since the Australian dollar was floated in 1983 it has averaged an exchange rate of US$0.75. It has been as high at US$0.98 and as low as US$0.60 and is currently sitting at approximately $0.67.
Trade Australia has low trade barriers which, together with current competition policy, has been a key factor in the continued success of the economy.
Australia's major export trading partners are Japan, China, South Korea, India, United States and New Zealand. Australia's main export commodities are coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment. Education is Australia's largest service export with some 455,000 international students enrolled in Australia.
Australia's major import trading partners are China, United States, Japan, Singapore, Germany, United Kingdom and Thailand. Australia's main import commodities are machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts, crude oil and petroleum products.
In terms of crude oil, Australia produces 540,000 barrels per day with a consumption rate of 903,200 barrels per day. 333,200 barrels per day are exported and 611,400 barrels per day imported.
Australia's major rural exports in order of dollar value are beef, wool and wheat.
Labour Force Australia's labour force totals approximately 10.75 million spread between the sectors as follows:
Services: 75%, industry: 26% and agriculture: 4%.
Australia's unemployment rate remains relatively steady, currently standing at approximately 4.3%. The State of South Australia currently has the highest state unemployment rate with Western Australia the lowest.
The Cost of Living in Australia:
A number of Australia's major cities have been ranked amongst the world's top 30 for quality of life with the cost of living being relatively low compared with European cities. Sydney has the highest cost of living in Australia followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Whilst the general cost of living is affordable, the he cost of housing and transport in Australia is relatively high.
Salaries in Australia:
Salaries in Australia are lower than in Europe New South Wales demands the highest salaries followed by Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. The resources boom and the resultant skills shortage have resulted directly in pushing up salaries in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.