lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Its capital, Canberra, is in
the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) between New South Wales and
Victoria. There is one other Territory: the Northern Territory (Darwin)
and six States: New South Wales (Sydney), Queensland (Brisbane), South
Australia (Adelaide), Victoria (Melbourne), Western Australia (Perth) and
the Island of Tasmania (Hobart).
The Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for over forty thousand
years. Aborigines and the Torres Straits Islanders originally migrated to
Australia from South East Asia.
With the arrival of the Europeans in the eighteenth century many of the
Aboriginal people died from unfamiliar diseases brought to the continent
by the newcomers. Today, many have abandoned their traditional tribal way
of life and live in the towns and cities making up one and a half percent
of the population.
After the Second World War the Australian government promoted an
immigration programme: over half of the migrants were British; others were
Greeks, Germans, Dutch, Italians and Yugoslavs. Today over ninety percent
of the population are of European descent; others are from Asia and the
Middle East. Over one hundred and fifty nationalities are represented in
the population of eighteen million.
Most of the people live in towns and cities on the coast, especially the
east and southeast.
English is the national language of Australia. Seventeen percent of
the population speak other languages. The Australian government provides
special help to increase the learning of Asian languages: Indonesian,
Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.
ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
a good road and rail infrastructure with eight hundred thousand kilometres
of public roads and railways running from all the ports. The country has
an excellent telecommunications network. The use of information technology
is highly valued; many people have access to the Internet both at home and
at work. Investment in computer literacy is seen as crucial to the future
of the country.
During the last ten years, the government has restructured the economy for
future growth and Australia's full participation in the global economy.