Ease of Doing Business Rank: 14
The commonwealth of Australia is a sovereign country comprised of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.
Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the east, and New Zealand to the southeast.
English is the de facto language of Australia and spoken by 73% of the population. The next most common languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, and various Indigenous tongues.
The 2019 population estimate for Australia is approximately 25.41 million. Almost 80% of the country’s population resides in the south-eastern part of the country and almost all residents live on the coast. The largest urban centers are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
The top ten industries in Australia are health and education, finance, mining, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, public administration, utilities, professional, scientific, and technical services, and transport, postal and warehousing.
US News ranked Australia 6th globally in 2019, unchanged from the previous year.
World University rankings awarded the University of Melbourne third in the class of best universities in the Asia-Pacific region in 2019. Australia also has eight universities in the global top 100.
Popular entity types
The most common business entities in Australia are Sole Trader, Proprietary Limited Company, Partnership, and Trust.
Proprietary limited companies are the most common company structure in the country and the one usually most suitable for foreign investors.
Australia offers many tax incentives for foreign-owned businesses, including Foreign Income Tax Offsets to avoid double taxation.
Australia also has considerable incentives for capital investments in oil and gas, venture capital, innovative projects, the film industry, mineral exploration, and offshore banking. They also offer substantial incentives for R&D.
Australia has many major business centers including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.
According to the 2019 Global Financial Centres Index, Sydney is the top financial center in the country followed by Melbourne.
Australia is a vast and diverse country with plenty to offer. Popular tourist attractions include the iconic shell-shaped Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
However, Australia is also known for the outstanding natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure on the planet. Venture further inland and you’ll find Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), a stunning 348 meter high red rock monolith. Fabulous beaches, countless national parks, unique native animals, and 8,222 islands are available to explore too.
Australia also has 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including cultural, natural, and mixed sites. These include the 11 penal sites built by the British government for prisoners.
Australia’s Aboriginal may have arrived on the continent over 50,000 years ago. However, the first European explorers didn’t sail the coast until the 17th century. Captain James Cook claimed the continent for Britain in 1770 and established a penal colony.
The first prisoners arrived in 1788 and free settlers arrived in the early 1790s. By the 1820s, many soldiers, officers and emancipated convicts started successful farms. News traveled quickly, and many more British migrants arrived.
In 1851, the discovery of gold lured thousands, including many Chinese prospectors. Unrest due to imposed mining licenses finally led to a bill that allowed any digger with a miner’s license to stand for elected office, which some historians consider the start of Australian democracy.
Australia officially became a nation under a single constitution in 1901. Both World Wars had a significant impact on the country. However, when WWII ended hundreds of thousands of migrants from across Europe and the Middle East arrived in Australia and the economy boomed.
Over the following decades, the country underwent massive economic reforms, including deregulating the banking system and floating the Australian dollar. Today, Australia has a thriving mixed-market economy with an estimated GDP of over $1.69 trillion AUD.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over half of all Australians are Christian, but many other religious affiliations exist in the country. These include Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, and more.
Most residents of Australia are of English decent, followed by other European ethnicities such as Irish, Italian, and German. A fairly significant Chinese and Aboriginal representation and lesser numbers of Indian, Greek, Dutch and other ethnicities also exist.
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, Australia ranks 9th globally due to its free trade agreement (FTA) with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the US, and a regional FTA with ASEAN and New Zealand.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Australia number 5 globally and states, “Australia’s robust free-market democracy has benefited from an effective system of government that facilitates vibrant entrepreneurial development. With almost all industries open to foreign competition and a skilled workforce readily available, Australia remains an attractive and dynamic destination for investment.”