Australia's Economy Essay

997 Words 4 Pages
Australia's Economy

Australia became a commonwealth of the British Empire in 1901. It was able to take advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop its agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Now, Australia has a prosperous Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP at the level of the four dominant West European economies. Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, minerals, metals, and fossil fuels.

Commodities account for 57% of the value of total exports, so that a downturn in world commodity prices can have a big impact on the economy. The government is pushing for increased exports
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Wheat and sugarcane are the leading crops, followed by barley, oats, rice, potatoes, cotton, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes. Fruits include grapes, primarily for wine, and oranges, apples, pineapples, and bananas.

Rangeland and pastures occupy about 55 percent of the total land area; on this are raised the world's largest number of sheep, producing more wool than any other country. Other livestock include cattle, about one-twelfth for dairying, and pigs. Beef and cattle hides are important products.

Australia is almost self-sufficient in lumber production. Most of roundwood production is broadleaved, and timber plantations account for about one-fifth of the lumber output. Most fishing in Australia is marine, three-fifths from the Indian Ocean and two-fifths from the Pacific Ocean.

More than two-thirds of the annual catch consists of crustaceans; tuna is also important. Mining and quarrying account for about 4 percent of the GDP and employ about 1 percent of the labour force. Bituminous and lignite coal are the leading energy minerals, followed by petroleum and natural gas. Australia leads the world in the production of bauxite, industrial diamond, and lead; other metallic minerals include iron ore, manganese ore, titanium oxide, zinc, copper, nickel, tin, silver, gold, platinum, cobalt, cadmium, antimony, zircon, bismuth, and tungsten. The principal nonmetallic