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close this bookCase Studies on Technical and Vocational Education in Asia and the Pacific - Australia (UNEVOC - ACEID, 1996, 56 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentKey Facts
View the documentExecutive Summary
Open this folder and view contents1. The Context for Reform of Australian Vocational Education and Training
Open this folder and view contents2. Human Resource Development
View the document3. Future Directions in Vocational Education and Training in Australia
Open this folder and view contents4. Issues in the Australian Vocational Education and Training System
Open this folder and view contents5. National Policies and Strategies to Promote the Development of Vocational Education and Training
Open this folder and view contents6. Policies to Promote Closer Linkages between Vocational Education Institutions and Industries
Open this folder and view contents7. Policies to Improve the Participation of Special Social Groups
View the documentConclusion
View the documentAPPENDIX I: GLOSSARY
View the documentReferences

Key Facts


7,682,300 sq km


17.5 million (1993), growth rate 1.5 per cent per annum. Some 20 per cent of the population were born outside Australia creating a multicultural society. About 1.5 percent of the population are indigenous people (Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders).

Official title:

Commonwealth of Australia.

Climate and Geography:

The climate ranges from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. Some 70 per cent of the country is arid with very low annual rainfall in the centre of the continent. Most of the agricultural and manufacturing centres are located in fertile zones on the east, south, south-east and south-west of the continent

Official Languages:


Ruling Party:

Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Head of Government:

Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating.


Australian Dollar ($AUS = 100 cents).

Political System:

Australia, a parliamentary democracy, is a federation of six States and two Territories in which legislative powers are divided between the Australian Federal Parliament with a 148-member House of Representatives and a 76-member Senate and the State and Territory parliaments. A cabinet of senior ministers, headed by a prime minister, holds day-to-day executive responsibility and is formed by the party with a majority in the House of Representatives The major political parties are the Australian Labor Party, Liberal-National Coalition and Democrats.


Three-tiered structure with primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. In 1992 there were over 2 million children enrolled in government primary and secondary schools and 850, 000 attending private schools. School attendance is compulsory throughout Australia between the ages of 6 and 15 years (16 in Tasmania). The tertiary sector, comprising universities, TAFE, community and adult and further education colleges/institutes and private providers accounts for about 2 million full and part-time students.

Social welfare:

Australia provides old-age, invalid and widow's pensions, unemployment, sickness and supporting parents' benefits, family allowances and other welfare benefits and allowances. Australia has a universal health insurance system known as Medicare which is financed in part by a 1.25 per cent levy on taxable incomes above a certain level.


Australia is the world's largest exporter of alumina, wool, beef and veal, mineral sands, coal, live sheep and steel and among the top suppliers of wheat, sugar, iron ore, bauxite and nickel. However, the services sector accounts for about 70 per cent of employment and about 60 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

% of GDP

% of labour force

Agriculture (incl. forestry, fishing)



Industry (manufacturing, construction)






Service industries (Australian Bureau of Statistics data)