Choosing Australia

Australia�s history of migration has built a culturally diverse and tolerant society, which has been enhanced by a democratic government, robust economy and favourable climate and geography.
Australia is one of the most multicultural nations in the world with a resident population of approximately 22 million, 5.8 million of whom were born overseas. More than 40 per cent of Australians are from mixed cultural origin and while English is the national language, 226 other languages are also spoken in Australian households.
Migration has driven the nation�s development with the first Australians arriving approximately 50,000 years ago followed by British settlement in the 18th century. The Gold Rush era of the 1850s saw a huge influx of the Chinese and labourers from Melanesia. In the late 19th century Afghani, Pakistani and Turkish camel handlers along with Japanese fishers migrated to Australia, contributing to the country�s growing industries and infrastructure. Since 1945, more than seven million people have settled in Australia, with many arriving after World War II from Europe and from Indo-China following the Vietnam War.
A variety of landscapes & lifestyles
Although Australia is roughly the size of the continental United States, it has one of the lowest population densities of any country in the world with only two people per square kilometre of total land area. The nation is divided into six states – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia – and two territories – Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The capital city Canberra is located in the ACT and is home to the Federal government, while other state capitals such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are famous tourist destinations.
Australia is renowned for its biodiversity and this affords a range of different lifestyles. While most of the population is concentrated along the resource-rich east coast, many choose to live in regional centres booming with industries such as agriculture and mining. From the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, to the red rock formation Uluru in outback-central Australia, the country boasts many natural treasures and has 18 World Heritage sites. Australia�s climate is temperate in the south and east and tropical in the north.
An abundance of job opportunities
Australia remains a popular migration destination due to its steady economy and job opportunities. Australia has a free-market economy with high growth and low inflation and is the world�s 14th largest economy based on gross domestic product. Tourism, resource and agricultural exports, education and finance are Australia�s main economic focuses. Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne have emerged as major financial centres in the Asia-Pacific. The nation�s economy grew for 17 consecutive years before the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009, and even proved its resilience during this period by avoiding the recession that damaged many other developed nations.
Australia is abundant in renewable energy sources and natural resources such as coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas and uranium, attracting huge foreign investment. The country is the world�s largest net exporter of coal, accounting for 29 per cent of global coal exports. Australia is also a large exporter of wool and wheat and has a growing services sector.
Stable, democratic government
Australia has a proud record of stable governance, with the federation of the six colonies in 1901 facilitating a peaceful transition into nationhood. Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch as the head of state and a written constitution defining the powers and operations of the Australian government. The structure of the Federal and state governments is largely based on the British Westminster System of a two-house parliament. The House of Representatives is the lower house of the Federal government and is comprised of 150 elected Members of Parliament, including the prime minister, drawn from representative electoral divisions. The political party with the most elected members in the lower house forms government with their leader becoming prime minister. The lower house is responsible for drafting legislation. The upper house, the Senate, has 76 members allocated evenly among the country�s six states with lesser representation from its two territories. The upper house passes the budget and approves or rejects legislation.
The prime minister appoints a cabinet of ministers that oversee portfolios such as Immigration and Citizenship, Defence, Health and Education. State governments can pass laws on any matters not controlled by the Federal government as set out in the constitution. Local government is comprised of councils that handle community needs such as town planning and public facilities. Voting is compulsory for all citizens.
High quality of life
Favourable lifestyle factors contribute to Australia consistently rating highly in quality of life studies. In 2010, Australia ranked 2nd in the United Nations Human Development Index based on health, education and income. In the 2010 Global Livability Report prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Australia had four cities listed in the top 10, including Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. Australia�s thriving economy has led to a low unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent as of March 2011 and a high rate of home ownership that has been fairly stable at around 70 per cent for many decades.
Australians have a welfare system that provides assistance to the elderly, families, students and the temporarily unemployed. The partial subsidies provided by the public healthcare system, Medicare, and high quality health services available also benefit Australians. The average life expectancy is high at 79.3 years for men and 83.9 years for women. Community services are also prevalent with support available to new migrants such as English programs, translating and interpreting services, and accommodation and job assistance. Every year, hundreds of thousands of new migrants come to Australia, most arriving as skilled workers, students, as well as on humanitarian and family reunification visas. Australia is currently experiencing a demographic shift with an ageing population and a skilled labour shortage, making it an ideal time to migrate to Australia.