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Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Governor-General: Quentin Bryce (2008)

Prime Minister: Kevin Rudd (2007)

Land area: 2,941,283 sq mi (7,617,931 sq km); total area: 2,967,893 sq mi (7,686,850 sq km)

Population (2009 est.): 21,262,641 (growth rate: 1.2%); birth rate: 12.4/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.75/1000; life expectancy: 81.6; density per sq mi: 7

Capital (2003 est.): Canberra, 327,700

Largest cities: Sydney, 4,250,100; Melbourne, 3,610,800; Brisbane, 1,545,700; Perth, 1,375,200; Adelaide, 1,087,600

Monetary unit: Australian dollar

Current government officials
Languages: English 79%, native and other languages

Ethnicity/race: Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 26%, Anglican 21%, other Christian 21%, Buddhist 2%, Islam 2%, other 1%, none 15% (2001)

National Holiday: Australia Day, January 26

Literacy rate: 99%% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $766.8 billion; per capita $37,500. Real growth rate: 4%. Inflation: 3%. Unemployment: 4.4%. Arable land: 6.15%. Agriculture: wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry. Labor force: 10.9 million; agriculture 3.6%, industry 21.2%, services 75.2% (2007 est.). Industries: mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel. Natural resources: bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum. Exports: $139.4 billion (2007 est.): coal, gold, meat, wool, alumina, iron ore, wheat, machinery and transport equipment. Imports: $152.7 billion (2007 est.): machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products. Major trading partners: China, U.S., Japan, Singapore, Germany (2006).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 9.94 million (2006); mobile cellular: 19.76 million (2006). Radio broadcast stations: AM 262, FM 345, shortwave 1 (1998).  

Television broadcast stations: 104 (1997).
Internet hosts: 9.458 million (2007). Internet users: 15.3 million (2006).

Transportation: Railways: total: 38,550 km (2006).  

Highways: total: 810,641 km; paved: 336,962 km; unpaved: 473,679 km (2004).  

Waterways: 2,000 km (mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling river systems) (2006). Ports and harbors: Brisbane, Dampier, Fremantle, Gladstone, Hay Point, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Hedland, Port Kembla, Port Walcott, Sydney.  

Airports: 461 (2007).

International disputes: Timor-Leste and Australia agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for fifty years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty; East Timor dispute hampers creation of a revised maritime boundary with Indonesia in the Timor Sea; Indonesian groups challenge Australia's claim to Ashmore and Cartier Islands; Australia closed parts of the Ashmore and Cartier Reserve to Indonesian traditional fishing and placed restrictions on certain catch; regional states continue to express concern over Australia's 2004 declaration of a 1,000-nautical mile-wide maritime identification zone; Australia asserts land and maritime claims to Antarctica (see Antarctica); in 2004 Australia submitted its claims to UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to extend its continental margins covering over 3.37 million square kilometers or roughly thirty percent of its claimed exclusive economic zone; since 2003, Australian Defense Force leads the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to maintain civil and political order and reinforce regional security.

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