Last updated: August 2019

Introduction

Australia is a stable parliamentary democracy, offering international investors a cost-effective, low-risk and innovative business environment. It is a federation of six states and two self-governing territories, each with its own legislative, executive and judicial arms of government. Currently home to around 25 million people, Australia has a fast-growing population. It is culturally diverse with around one in five people born overseas. The national language is English and Australia follows the English common law system.

Australia offers strong opportunities in growth sectors such as renewable energy, health and aged care, and tourism infrastructure.

Investment landscape

Traditional sectors such as mining, finance, logistics, agriculture, property and construction, and services industries have all performed well, attracting foreign investment. Australia also offers strong capabilities and opportunities in key growth sectors such as renewable energy, health and aged care, and tourism infrastructure.

The country has free trade agreements (FTAs) with regional partners, including member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, as well as Chile and the United States. It is also negotiating additional FTAs, including with the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Hong Kong, India and the Pacific Alliance, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership of 16 nations, which would become the world’s largest trading bloc. 

These FTAs offer Australian-based companies a competitive advantage in servicing these markets. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has up-to-date information on Australia’s FTAs.

Government

The Federal Government has primary responsibility for defence, finance and taxation, post and telecommunications, administering the national healthcare system, immigration, tertiary education, aviation, and foreign affairs and trade.

The state and territory governments are responsible for primary and secondary education, roads and transport, police and health care. Third-tier local governments are responsible for planning and development, and providing local services to communities.

Legal system

Australia has a common law system, which is based on the English system.

The states and territories each have their own judicial system and courts. The Federal Court deals with federal matters and the High Court of Australia hears appeals relating to federal, state and territory matters. 

Quality of life

Australia has one of the highest standards of living in the world, offering international businesspeople a superb climate, a unique and beautiful environment, top international schools, excellent flight linkages, and quality social and cultural infrastructure.

While international businesspeople can choose from one of several pathways to entering Australia, everyone is required to have a visa. All visa applicants must meet public interest criteria relating to health, character, national security and foreign relations. The longer the planned period of stay, the more rigorous the criteria.

The Department of Home Affairs offers comprehensive information about business immigration into Australia. 

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