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Australia Overview
Date: 2015-7-29 10:37:48

Australia Geography Overview

Australia has six states—New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS),Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA)—and two major mainland territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT). In most respects these two territories function as states, but the Commonwealth Parliament can override any legislation of their parliaments.


The Australian mainland has a total coastline length of 35,876 km (22,292 mi) with an additional 23,859 km  of island coastlines.There are 758 estuaries around the country with most located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones. Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates: 27 00 S, 133 00 E

Map references: Oceania



total: 7,741,220 sq km

land: 7,682,300 sq km

water: 58,920 sq km

note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island

country comparison to the world: 6th


Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states


Area comparison map: 

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 25,760 km


Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


Climate: generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north


Terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast


Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m

highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m


Natural resources:

bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

(note: Australia is the world's largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports)


Land use:

agricultural land: 53.4%

arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 47.1%

forest: 19.3%

other: 27.3% (2011 est.)


Irrigated land: 25,460 sq km (2006)

Total renewable water resources: 492 cu km (2011)


Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 22.58 cu km/yr (27%/18%/55%)

per capita: 1,152 cu m/yr (2010)


Natural hazards:

cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires

volcanism: volcanic activity on Heard and McDonald Islands


Environment - current issues:

soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural freshwater resources


Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling


signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


Geography - note:

world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; the largest country in Oceania, the largest country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest country without land borders; the only continent without glaciers; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world


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