Australia is a vast and diverse country, continent and island surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

Population estimate (2019): 24,965,656

Capital City: Canberra

Currency used: Australian Dollar

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 42,540

Time zone: GMT + 10

Population growth rate (2019): 1.28%

Total fertility rate per woman: 1.77

Languages: Australia has no official language, however English is regarded as the national language with approximately 77% of people speaking English at home. The most commonly spoken languages apart from English are Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog (Filipino), Arabic and some indigenous (mostly aboriginal) languages.

Key ethnic groups: The main ethnic backgrounds in Australia are British (67.4/%), Irish (8.7%), Italian (3.8%), German (3.7%), Chinese (3.6%), Aboriginal Australian (3.0%).

Religion: 25.3% Roman Catholic Christan, 22.3% Atheist Agnostic, 18.7% other Christian, 17.1% Anglican Christian, 10.1% other beliefs, 2.5% Buddhist, 2.2% Muslim, 1.3% Hindu, 0.5% Jewish.

Literacy: 99.0%

Climate: Due to the country’s position in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed with summer being from December to March and winter from June to August. The climate is generally temperate, however, with some variation according to latitude as it is generally hotter in the northern regions and colder in the south. The average temperature in the summer is 29ºc, and 13ºc in the winter.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 81/85 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 77/45 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $4,357

Physicians, nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2013): 15.718

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2015): 2.2

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 6

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2013): 99.3%

Top 10 causes of death:

Coronary heart disease: 23,153 people / 17.96% of total

Alzheimers/Dementia: 13,446 / 10.43%

Stroke: 10,516 / 8.16%

Lung cancers: 8,461 / 6.56%

Lung disease: 8,180 / 6.35%

Colon-rectum cancers: 5,847 / 4.54%

Diabetes mellitus: 4,484 / 3.48%

Influenza & pneumonia: 4,151 / 3.22%

Prostate cancer: 3,488 / 2.71%

Breast cancer: 3,235 / 2.51%

Healthcare system

Australia has a very well developed healthcare system, comprising public and private sectors offering high standards of care. The country has a successful public universal healthcare scheme called Medicare. The scheme is available for Australian and New Zealand citizens, residents in Australia, and people from countries who have reciprocal agreements. It covers the costs of all public hospital services, as well as some or all the costs of services provided by general practitioners (GPs), specialist care, and other services such as physiotherapy and basic dental care for children. Primary health networks coordinate health service provision in local areas. There are 31 of such networks across the country. They help improve patient care by supporting community health centres, hospitals, GPs, nurses, specialists and other health professionals. They also coordinate communication between hospitals and GPs, assess local health needs, and organise local health promotion programs. The Medicare scheme also includes the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which makes prescription medicines more affordable.

Many Australians have additional private health insurance, which gives citizens a wider choice outside of the public system. There are two types of private health insurance covers: A hospital cover for some, or all, of the costs of hospital treatment; and a general treatment “extras” cover, which covers some of the services not covered by Medicare, such as dental and optical care. Some people opt for one of the two covers, others have both.