January 3, 2017

Overview of Australia

Overview of Australia

By Sue Ellson

General Tips and Advice

Overview of AustraliaTo learn more about Australia, you will need to:

  • visit various websites and read information from a variety of sources
  • speak to various people and ask questions to seek different viewpoints
  • investigate particular topics that interest you

Population of Australia

On 28 December 2016, the resident population of Australia is projected to be 24,311,793.

This projection is based on the estimated resident population at 30 June 2016 and assumes growth since then of:

  • one birth every 1 minute and 40 seconds
  • one death every 3 minutes and 17 seconds
  • a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 25 seconds, leading to
    an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 24 seconds.

These assumptions are consistent with figures released in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 2016 (cat. no. 3101.0) and were calculated via the Australian Population Clock.

The estimated resident populations for the states and territories at 30 June 2016 were as follows:

  • New South Wales 7,725,900
  • Victoria 6,068,000
  • Queensland 4,844,500
  • South Australia 1,708,200
  • Western Australia 2,617,200
  • Tasmania 519,100
  • Northern Territory 244,900
  • Australian Capital Territory 396,100
  • Australia 24,127,200

Other interesting statistics
In 2014-15, net overseas migration (NOM) reflected an annual gain of 168,200 persons, 9.8% less than in 2013-14.
An estimated 339,000 people moved interstate in 2014-15, a decrease of 2.9% from the previous year.
At 30 June 2015, 28.2% of Australia’s estimated resident population (ERP) (6.7 million people) was born overseas.

It is important to remember that in most locations across Australia, we are a very multicultural society with people from many countries living here either as permanent residents, citizens, students or other visa holders.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Languages in Australia

The National Language is English.

The 2006 Census recorded that almost 400 different languages were spoken in homes across Australia. Close to 79% of Australia’s population speak only English at home. The six most commonly spoken languages other than English were Italian, Greek, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese with speakers of these languages together comprising 7% of the total population.

The National Census is conducted every five years.

International English Language

Australian Bureau of Statistics Census

Citizenship in Australia

More then 5 million people have become Australian citizens since 1949.

Australian Citizenship

Australian Citizenship Statistics


Australia has no official state religion and people are free to practise any religion they choose, as long they obey the law. Australians are also free not to have a religion.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade About Australia – Religion


Australian dollar (AUD)

Royal Australian Mint


With a land mass close to 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia is the world’s sixth largest country and is divided into three separate time zones.

Daylight Saving Time (where clocks are advanced one hour during the warmer months) is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory and begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April.

Time in Australia


The weather is a very popular topic of discussion in Australia – keep up with the latest online.

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Indigenous Australians

The first Australians that lived on mainland Australia, Tasmania and the Torres Strait Islands (between Australia and Papua New Guinea) are known as Aborigines (pronounced Abb-or-idge-en-ees). It is believed that they have lived here for over 40,000 years.

You will regularly find on Government forms a question that asks if you are of ‘Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.’ Today, Indigenous people make up less than 3% of the current Australian population. Indigenous Australians continue to live throughout Australia including cities, towns, the coast, rural areas and the outback. There is no single Indigenous culture but a mixture of contemporary and traditional thoughts, ways and practices.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies – Publications

Migration to Australia Statistics

Australia was ‘discovered’ by European Settlers in 1788. Now we have an extremely multicultural society.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Statistical Publications

Living in Australia Information

Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Living in Australia
http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Life (very helpful)

Study in Australia – Living in Australia

Summary websites with information about Australia

Australian Government websites are generally excellent sources of impartial information about Australia and we recommend that you have a look at these websites to learn more about Australia.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australia in brief
This is a very comprehensive summary of many aspects of Australia and is an excellent introduction to the basics of Australia.

Australia.gov.au – About Australia
Similar to the above Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Australia.gov.au – Culture
More information about Australia’s culture

Lonely Planet’s Guide to Australia
Information for travelling and staying a little longer

Australian Tourism
Official Australian Tourism Website

Police in Australia

Australians consider it safe to contact the police whenever they need assistance with criminal or security matters.

In a life or property threatening emergency, dial 000 (triple zero) from any telephone.

Australian Federal Police

Queensland Police

New South Wales Police

Northern Territory Police

South Australia Police

Tasmania Police

Victoria Police

Western Australian Police

There are also several other law enforcement agencies in Australia and the following link provides a range of basic information and relevant links.

australia.gov.au – Law and Justice

If you are planning to bring certain items to Australia, you will need to ensure that you comply with the local laws

Personal Assistance

If you are seeking further advice, you need to:

1) Read this section in full
2) Follow the links and read the resources provided
3) Prepare written questions that you can email to someone who can provide more assistance
4) Follow up with a phone call (maximum of 10 minutes) before seeking additional professional advice (paid or unpaid) from at least three sources if you have complex issues to resolve.
5) Contact Us for further professional (paid) assistance or referral