Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Its ocean territory is the world’s third largest, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres. Nearly seven million square kilometres, or 91 per cent of Australia, is covered by native vegetation. Although this figure may seem high, many of Australia’s desert landscapes are covered by native plants such as saltbush, albeit sparsely. For tens of thousands of years, the lives and sense of cultural identity of Indigenous Australians were inextricably linked to the land, its forms, flora and fauna. Today, the identity of all Australians is shaped by a relationship with the natural environment. Australia is one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling populations in the world. More than 80 per cent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.

Medicare is the publicly funded universal health care scheme in Australia and was instituted in 1984. It coexists with a private health system. Medicare is funded partly by a 1.5% Medicare levy (with exceptions for low-income earners), with the balance being provided by government from general revenue. An additional levy of 1% is imposed on high-income earners without private health insurance. As well as Medicare, there is a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that considerably subsidises a range of prescription medications.

The Australian education system has produced scientists, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists and humanitarians who have changed the world, winning awards from Oscars to Nobel prizes. Their global achievements include the “black box” now on every airplane, the Earth hour initiative, and the invention of Wi-Fi. Australia is proud of the individuals who have studied and worked in Australia (whether they were born here or another country) and gone on to achieve great things and contribute to making the world a better place. Free public education from years 1 to 12.

 Little time zone difference and closer trade route