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Country Reports

Australia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s popularity, badly eroded by his administration’s response to recent bushfires, has now rallied thanks to Australia’s effective response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak. The country rapidly developed its own diagnostic tests for COVID-19, and testing is widespread, with more than 56,300 tested per million persons (compared with about 18,300 in South Korea). Coupled with strict lockdown measures and a voluntary coronavirus tracing app, this facilitated control of the outbreak. State authorities began easing some restrictions on domestic travel and “social distancing” in May. Resource and energy accounts for about 9% of GDP and 60% of export revenue, underlining the country’s vulnerability to uncertainty in the commodities market caused by the pandemic. The effects of a collapse in demand from China would be particularly severe in the parts of the country most dependent on the extractives sector, namely Western Australia and Queensland. However, Chinese demand has remained resilient and Australian iron ore producers have maintained production through new technology and an adaptable workforce, benefitting from a supply gap caused by COVID-19 disruptions in Brazil and South Africa. Australia is heading into its first recession since 1991; IHS Markit expects the economy to contract 6.4% in 2020 owing to the bushfires of early 2020 and the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Fiscal and monetary stimulus measures implemented in response to the virus will only mitigate the economic impact of the virus.The risk of a terrorist attack on Australian soil is moderate, with the bulk of the risk coming from jihadist and right-wing elements. Low-capability and small-scale attacks carried out by domestically based lone actors in Melbourne or Sydney are most likely. However, police counter-terrorism capability is robust, and most plots will probably be intercepted.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

Australia’s operational environment is attractive and welcoming to potential investors. Days lost to industrial action have declined in the past two decades despite a slight increase in strike activity during the past year. In May 2018, 100,000 union members protested peacefully in Melbourne to demand a salary increase. Labour strikes over pay and labour conditions in the mining as well as civilian and cargo transportation sectors occur several times per year but are unlikely to cause disruption longer than a few days. Corruption levels remain low despite an increase in public perceptions of corruption in public services and among politicians, fuelled by scandals such as the “sports rorts” affair.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

Domestically based lone-actors pose a moderate terrorist threat in Australia, with attacks likely to be low-capability and aimed at soft targets in Sydney or Melbourne. Attacks would aim to cause civilian casualties and the risk of significant asset damage is low. As well as Islamist or Islamic State-inspired attacks, the March 2019 attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which were carried out by an Australian national, raise the risk of copycat attacks in the country. Australia has experienced more severe bomb threats but counter-terrorism capabilities are robust and plots are likely to be disrupted during the planning stages.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

Crime levels in Australia are comparable to those in developed Western economies. According to OECD data, the homicide rate is 1 per 100,000 people, compared with the OECD average of 3.6. Violent crime has broadly declined during the past decade, although sexual assault rates rose by 8% during 2017. Australia is a hub for drug trafficking. In a single incident in December 2019, authorities seized 1.6 tonnes of methamphetamine worth almost AUD1.2 billion. Australia’s anti-money-laundering regime is comprehensive, with legislative amendments passed in late 2017 extending the legislation to cover digital currency providers.

Last update: June 17, 2020

War Risks

The risk of interstate conflict affecting Australian territory is low, although Australia’s defence strategy formulated in 2016 underestimated the pace of technological advancements in weaponry and the rapidity of geopolitical changes in the Indo-Pacific region. In particular, the defence strategy is over-reliant on the United States, whose regional military authority is waning amid a greater strategic challenge from China. The government intends to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2021, although a reassessment of defence strategy and military capabilities is highly likely to bring a spending increase. Both major political parties are likely to support this policy.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

Small protests motivated by social and environmental concerns occur monthly in Australia and usually attract several hundred participants. Larger protests occur several times per year and typically relate to environmental concerns. For example, in September 2019, more than 300,000 people across the country held rallies as part of the global Climate Strike protests. Although protests occasionally cause disruption to central business districts and local traders, the likelihood of property damage is negligible. The frequency and scale of protests will likely decrease in the coming months due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but will regain traction in the latter end of the year.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Health Risk

Low

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Australia. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Japanese encephalitis: Japanese encephalitis is typically only present in rural areas. Discuss travel plans with your doctor to decide if you need the JE vaccine, which is administered in two doses spaced over a month. The last dose should be administered at least ten days prior to departure for an at-risk area to be fully effective.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

First, Australia is home to an array of diverse climates (equatorial, tropical, arid, etc.) and therefore a variety of natural hazards.

Between late October and early May, tropical cyclones strike the northern and western coasts of the country, sometimes violently.

In addition to storms, the country is also regularly afflicted by forest fires in the summer months (December to February).

Furthermore, large-scale floods resulting in extensive material damage are not rare.

It should also be noted that Australia is located in an active seismic zone.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

Finally, the quality of medical, hotel, and road infrastructure is high. Public transportation systems are well-developed and health conditions are good throughout the country.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Due to its vast size, Australia experiences a variety of diverse climates. Along the eastern coast the climate is temperate: summers are hot and winters are mild. The area receives rain throughout the year.

In the north and the northeast of the country the climate is tropical (summers are hot and humid, winters mild) and the majority of rainfall comes in the summer.

The interior of the country and portions of the western coast are semi-arid.

Temperatures are generally lower in the south although they never fall below freezing in Melbourne.

Finally, in the southeast (Perth, Adelaide), the climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot and dry summers.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +61
Police: 000
Fire Dept.: 000
Ambulance: 000

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019