Australia has a stable, advanced economy, and is a member of the G20 group of nations. In 2009, it was the 13th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP. As with other advanced economies, the service sector dominates, which represents 68% of GDP. Natural resources are also important: the agricultural and mining sectors account for more than half of the nation’s exports. The currency is the Australian Dollar.
Australia is divided politically into six states and two territories, and is a stable, liberal parliamentary
democracy (similar to the U.S. and U.K.), with three levels of government: federal, state, and local. Federal and state governments administer the laws that apply to education.
Living Conditions and Cost of Living
Living conditions in Australia are generally quite good. Australia consistently ranks in the top five or ten in the world when it comes to quality of life indexes (e.g., The Economist’s) or human development indexes (e.g., The United Nations’). Housing and accommodation is of good quality, public transport is available, food and water are high quality, and many public amenities are accessible. Students can experience a wide range of leisure and sporting activities, and can expect low crime rates and a safe environment. Tuition fees range from $A5,500 to $30,000 per year. The average fee is approximately $9,000 per year. Health coverage is $380 per year. Accommodation costs $70–400 per week. Other costs are variable but similar to the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.