Country rich in raw materials
The raw materials and the industries that process them are important to Australia’s economy. Iron ore, hard coal, crude oil, natural gas, but also diamonds, gold and uranium are mined. Australia is one of the most resource-rich countries on earth. Anyone who works in mining can earn a lot of money.
But common people’s earnings are often low. At the same time, rents and prices for houses are rising. The gap between poor and rich people is widening. The dependence on raw material prices is very high. If, for example, the price of crude oil falls, the income is quickly much lower than desired. Australia is also very dependent on China. If the Chinese economy does worse, this has consequences for Australia, because fewer products are then sold.
Environmental protection – no thanks!
Australia is one of the countries that produce the most greenhouse gases per capita worldwide. For a long time, Australian politicians resisted doing anything and refused to sign international agreements on climate protection. The aim was not to upset the very powerful coal industry, which is also responsible for the greenhouse gases. But meanwhile, a rethink is taking place, because Australia in particular is feeling the consequences of climate change through the years of drought and the population is putting pressure on the government. Yet far too little is being done in this direction.
More sheep than people
Australia used to be a country that fed its people through agriculture and, above all, cattle breeding. Even today, many people still work in agriculture, even if these activities only contribute little to the gross domestic product (GDP). Most of the agricultural goods are exported. Sheep breeding is especially important. More than 130,000 million sheep live in Australia and so Australia also produces quite a lot of wool. In fact, Australia is the world leader in wool production. In addition to the sheep, there are more than 25 million cattle.
The cultivation of wheat and sugar cane plays a major role. But often there is the problem of adequate irrigation. By the way, there are also wine growing areas in Australia. Australian wine is very well known.
Everyone wants to go to Australia!
Most Australians work in the field of services. Tourism is very important for the whole country. More than 500,000 people work in this area and a great deal of money is made by the tourists who come to Australia year after year from all regions of the world.
Australia is one of the economically strong nations in the world. Unemployment is low when it is rising.
The state intervenes little in economic development
In the past, the state intervened more strongly in the country’s economy, but now most of the companies are in private hands and the state interferes less. But not all people benefit from the booming economy. There are also many losers here, like that beggar in a mall that you see in the photo.
Australia is a rich country…
Australia is quite a rich country compared to other countries in the world. Many children are doing well, they have adequate health care and a good education system. But that doesn’t apply to everyone.
… but many people are poor
Even in a rich country like Australia, not everyone is well. 13 out of 100 adults live in poverty, as do 15 out of 100 children. The numbers are probably already higher again because they are increasing year after year.
More than a million Australian children are inadequate to eat and two million are dependent on direct food aid, half of which are children. These children often don’t get breakfast before school or go to bed without eating. In the meantime, even in a country as rich as Australia, there are organizations that try to help the people. They pass on donated food to the people who urgently need it.
Aborigines in Australia are particularly affected
The indigenous population, i.e. the Australians who have always lived here, are particularly affected by poverty. They were put on reservations by the white immigrants. Even if the government is now trying to accommodate the Aborigines, their ideas of land and life contradict each other enormously. There are also older people and single parents. The unemployed and certain groups of immigrants are also particularly poor. And the children who live in poorer households and whose parents are poor are also poor as a result.
Some immigrants are also poor
It is said that Australia – which is a country of immigration – has integrated its immigrants better than is the case in other countries. That is right as well. However, Australia chooses the people who are allowed to come very carefully.
Good English skills, a job and other requirements are the conditions for being allowed into the country. Without a visa there is hardly a chance. Refugees who try to reach the Australian continent from other countries are turned away. But once you have arrived in Australia, you will be accepted relatively quickly as a “New Australian”.