Australia is a resilient economy that outperforms in global rankings. It has shown resilience to multiple shocks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Closed borders and targeted lockdowns contained the virus throughout most of 2020 and 2021.
International trade remained strong in most sectors, partly thanks to high commodity prices. Australia’s international arrivals began to resume in November 2021 and the international border fully reopened in February 2022.
The Australian Government’s cautious approach has benefited the economy. Australia’s household consumption is expected to improve as restrictions ease. Meanwhile, major tax incentives are projected to trigger the strongest boost in business investment since the mining boom.
Australia’s growth rate is remaining strong at 4.2% in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Australian GDP is projected to be 6.7% larger by the end of 2022 than in pre-pandemic 2019. This increase over the pre-COVID-19 level in 2019 is higher than the average for advanced economies (3.7%).
Two other factors that underpin Australia's resilience are location and diversity. Fast-growing Asia is set to deliver 44% of the global GDP by 2026. Australian trade is already oriented toward Asia’s economies – especially in minerals, energy, services, and agriculture. Also, Australia's diverse and highly productive economy is resilient against economic shocks, including the ongoing pandemic.
Australia is set to become the world’s 12th-largest economy in 2023, according to the IMF. The nominal GDP will be around A$2.5 trillion (US$1.8 trillion). Australia is home to just 0.3% of the world’s population but accounts for 1.7% of the global economy.
Innovation and Skills
Australia is home to a high-skill, high-talent workforce, making it one of the most innovative countries in the world.
Their scientific institutions rank in the world’s top 1% in 15 individual fields of research – including space science, computer science, clinical medicine, and genetics.
Whereas many other economies have shrunk, Australia's outsized A$167 billion technology sector has grown 26% since the onset of the pandemic. Australia’s entrepreneurs have created one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest technology industries. If it were classified as a single industry, it would be the third largest contributor to GDP in Australia – ahead of the health and construction sectors.
The tech sector’s economic contribution to GDP has increased 79% since 2016–17 to reach A$167 billion in 2020–21. This equates to around 8.5% of GDP. Rapid digital adoption during COVID-19 led to a 26% growth (A$34 billion) in the value of Australia’s technology sector in the year to June 2021.
Approximately 98% of Australian tech firms are small and medium-sized enterprises. Investors and global tech developers know that Australian consumers are early adopters of technology and are open to change. This makes Australia a great market to trial and pioneer new digital services.
The results are apparent in global rankings.
Euromonitor ranks Australians fourth in the world for digital consumption.
Ranked 2nd in the Robot Olympics in 2021.
Ranked 2nd in Asia for fintech development, and sixth globally.
Ranked 4th for the number of universities in the world's top 100.
According to Nature, Australia is one of the top 10 countries in the world for contributing to life sciences research.
3 universities in the top 100 academic institutions in Artificial Intelligence.
Top 1% of the world's scientific institutions in 15 of 22 research fields.
Around 47% of Australia's workforce has a Tertiary level qualification.
Australia’s skilled and educated workforce is highly competitive in global comparisons. Australia ranks in the top seven for university education systems according to a 2022 study by the International Institute for Management Development. Australia ranks eighth in the world on the UN’s Human Development Index, which measures literacy and education.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index, Australia’s scientific publication scores are among the world’s highest.
Australia's workforce at a glance:
Ranked in the top 10, globally, for the availability of skilled labour
A culturally diverse workforce, with approximately 30% of workers born overseas
Sustained periods where labour-productivity growth exceeds growth in real wages
A multicultural population, where 2.1 million Australians also speak an Asian language and 1.3 million also speak a European language
Australia is a trading nation and an open economy which is deeply integrated with global trade. Low tariffs and preferential access to Asian markets make them a natural gateway for global trade. Over 70% of their trade is now with fast-growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown by approximately 7% per year for the last decade and has now topped A$1 trillion.
Close integration with dynamic economies in Asia drives wealth creation in Australia. Twelve of Australia’s top 15 export markets are in the Asian region, generating total exports worth A$326 billion in 2020. This represents three-quarters of Australia's total exports of goods and services. ASEAN is also a significant market, accounting for 11% of Australia's total exports.
Australia is a highly globalized economy, with global trade accounting for over 40% of the nominal GDP. Asian partners accounted for two-thirds of Australia’s total exports.
The value of Australia’s exports of goods and services was A$436 billion in 2020 out of which, primary products accounted for 65% of total exports. The value of iron ore exports increased by 21%.
Australia is a highly attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) with the total stock of FDI in Australia having risen by 7.9% per year since 2001. It reached A$1 trillion around 2020. Other forms of investment – including portfolio investment – grew by 8.1% per year. This takes total foreign investment to A$4 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, the total value of foreign investment stock grew from 125% in 2001 to almost 200% in 2021. Foreign investment was hit by drought, bushfires, and lockdowns in 2020, but still grew by around 2.5%.
Australia attracts investment from around the world. Over the past decade, foreign direct investment from Bermuda grew by 21% per year, China by 12%, Canada by 12%, and Luxembourg by 10%. Australia’s top three overseas investors are the US, Japan, and the UK. Over the same period, investment activities from ASEAN, mainly Singapore and Malaysia, have been growing by an average of 9% per annum to A$66 billion.
FDI powers productivity growth in Australia’s domestic and export industries. Services take about half of all FDI. From 2017–2021, FDI in real estate and financial services, the two largest recipients in the services sector, rose by 11% and 12% per year respectively. Their growth rates were over twice the average growth rate (4%) of all industries. FDI in the professional, scientific and technical sectors grew rapidly, at 17% per annum since 2017. Australia’s export-focused mining sector is the biggest primary-industry beneficiary, accounting for 34% of the total FDI, or A$361 billion.
Australia is an open market for trade in services. The OECD’s Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) ranked Australia as the second most open economy for legal services and fifth most open for air transport. Trade in services is also growing strongly. Two-way trade reached around A$205 billion in 2019, sharply up from about A$60 billion 20 years ago. This represents an annual growth rate of 6.3% over the past two decades.
Australia benefits from 16 free trade agreements (FTAs), including with the US, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Singapore. They are also a member of important regional multi-party trade agreements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which came into force on 1 January 2022.
Diverse society and cultures
Australia is one of the most successful, diverse, and cohesive societies in the world.
It owes these accomplishments to the contributions of more than 300 different ancestries – from the First Australians to the newest arrivals.
Australia welcomes those who have migrated there to be part of their free and open society, to build their lives, and contribute to the nation.
Australia's cultural diversity is one of its greatest assets as it sparks innovation, creativity, vitality, and strengths the economy through the skills, knowledge, linguistic capabilities, and networks of its diverse workforce.
Australia has the equal 2nd highest proportion of foreign-born citizens in the OECD (30%)
A welcoming country
3 in 10 Australians are born overseas
86% of Australians believe multiculturalism has been good for Australia
The vast majority of Australians think people from different national or ethnic groups get on well together
Their inclusive national identity is built around their shared values. Australians believe in respect, mateship, and a fair go. These define and shape their country, and together with their democratic institutions, have created their peaceful, prosperous, and stable society.
Great place to study
Discover how to be an innovative, agile thinker
Australian universities, colleges, and schools equip you with the practical skills and knowledge that will help you succeed in your chosen industry. As global demand booms for entrepreneurial and innovative thinkers, Australian education providers have re-engineered their approaches to teaching and learning to inspire thought-leading creativity among students in every discipline.
Study at globally ranked institutions
Australia is known for setting international standards for excellence in education. This is because the Australian education sector comprises of world-leading education institutions, premium training facilities, outstanding lecturers, and student support services.
Australia ranks 2nd best for education in the OECD, according to the 2022 OECD Better Life Index.
Gain work experience while you study
You may choose to work in Australia while you are studying. This can be an option for you to earn some extra spending money,
and gain valuable skills and experience. Here are a few things that make Australia a great place to work as an international student:
Workplace protections - You have the same protections
at work as anyone else working in Australia.
Minimum wage - You will get at least a minimum rate of pay per hour no matter what job you do.
Work hours - You can work up to 40 hours every two weeks while you are studying, and unlimited hours during holiday breaks.
Strong support - You will find support every step of your journey as a student worker. Help is always available from the government and private organizations as well as your education provider.
Australian institutions provide an education designed to help you succeed in the global workforce. An Australian qualification will make you very attractive to potential employers in Australia, at home, and around the world.
Many Australian degrees and vocational courses include work experience programs and internships so you can gain hands-on industry experience and grow your professional network while you study. Once you complete your degree, you may also be eligible to stay and work in Australia.
Access extensive student support services
Australian institutions offer a huge range of student support services to help you settle into your new life in Australia. Education providers must comply with strict quality control and government accreditation measures so you can be assured you will receive only the best service. In several cities and towns, there are dedicated international student support centers, each offering practical advice, and support on issues like legal rights, job skills, and opportunities to meet and socialize with other local and international students.
Australia's Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS ACT) framework enforces by law the best-practice protection for the rights of international students studying in Australia.
Live and study in safety
Australian cities have some of the lowest crime rates in the world, and our streets and public spaces are open and safe. There are many options for accommodation: you can live in purpose-built student villages, homestays, private rentals, share-houses, or boarding school accommodations
Make the most of Australia’s great outdoors
With a unique mix of thriving cities and regional centers, vast open spaces, and spectacular landscapes, it’s no wonder Australia attracts people from all over the world.
The first thing you will notice when you land in Australia is the fresh air and blue skies. It has a long history of protecting the beauty and sustainability of the environment which results in clean and sustainable cities and regional centers with plenty of green spaces and relatively low air pollution.
Its diverse natural environment offers a range of experiences – you can relax on our golden beaches, venture into the national parks to see the unique plants and animals, and explore the untamed outback.
Enjoy a high standard of living
Australian cities are consistently ranked as some of the most liveable in the world. The quality of education, healthcare, transport, infrastructure, and government services are rated well above international averages.
Australia is a technologically advanced country with a strong, globally competitive economy. You will enjoy all the benefits of high-quality services, transportation, and infrastructure in our towns and cities.
Australian educational institutions make students work-ready and understand what it takes to succeed in the global workforce. An Australian qualification will make you a very attractive potential employee to employers in Australia, at home, and around the world.
Amazing place to live
The Australian lifestyle is often called their superpower, and it's envied the world over. Australians live in a safe and stable country with a friendly and relaxed culture that makes it easy to achieve a work-life balance.
Australia is stunningly beautiful with spectacular landscapes, dynamic cities, vibrant regional centers, and an inclusive professional culture that allows you the time to enjoy them.
Three Australian cities are regularly ranked among the world’s top 10 most liveable. The cities are affordable, offering a lower cost of living than most major cities elsewhere in Asia–Oceania.
In 2021, Australia claimed four of the world’s top ten most liveable cities.
Australians are warm and welcoming, hardworking, and creative. It is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and home to the world’s oldest living culture.
Australians have access to high-quality, timely, and affordable healthcare at every stage of life. Medicare is Australia's universal health care system, providing free public hospital care and patient subsidies for medical services, while the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme keeps medicines affordable. Life expectancy is two years above the OECD average.
Australia has been recognized globally for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to the OECD average, Australia’s response to the crisis helped prevent around 40,000 deaths while protecting livelihoods.
Australia ranks 2nd in the world for our ability to respond to healthcare threats
Australia ranks 3rd in the world for the performance of our health care system
Source: The Commonwealth Fund Mirror Mirror 2021: Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Other High-Income Countries
We support families at all stages
Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme signals that taking time out of the paid workforce to care for a child is part of the usual course of life and work for parents. The scheme aims to help balance work and life commitments and support workforce participation.
The Child Care Subsidy assists families with the cost of child care, facilitates workforce participation and supports children’s attendance in child care. It also enhances early learning and development.
Australia is safe, prosperous and free
Backed by their strong economy, Australians enjoy a high standard of living. They ranked 3rd in the OECD for growth in household disposable incomes in 2021 despite the pandemic, and it is the wealthiest nation on earth in terms of median wealth per adult. This prosperity gives people the freedom to enjoy all that its world-class cities and fascinating countryside have to offer – from incredible food and wineries to boutique shopping and an extensive calendar of sporting and cultural events.
Australia is the ideal place to raise a family. The Paid Parental Leave scheme supports new parents to take time out of the paid workforce, while the Child Care Subsidy helps parents with the costs of childcare – supporting both workforce participation and children’s early learning and development.
Living in Australia, you’ll feel a deep sense of safety and freedom thanks to its enduring political stability and open, diverse society. Sydney and Melbourne ranked among the top 10 safest cities in the world in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index 2021.