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Country Reports

Australia Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The faraway country-continent of Australia (population 24 million) offers potential travelers vast landscapes, extreme distances, and an abundance of open space. While the majority of trips to this popular and remote destination are carried out under good conditions, foreign visitors (six million per year on average) should nevertheless note some potential risks.

NATURAL RISKS

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.

TERRORISM

The terrorist threat level in non-negligible. Australian interests and citizens were targeted by Islamist terrorists in 2002 in an attack that took place in Bali (Indonesia; 202 deaths, including 88 Australians) and again in 2004 when the Australian Embassy in Jakarta was bombed (14 deaths). In mid-September 2014, Canberra increased its National Terrorism Public Alert System level from "medium" to "high" (the second highest level) for the first time in more than ten years, following London's example.  On February 11, 2015, police announced that they foiled an attack (planned by supporters of the terrorist organization Islamic State) planned for Sydney. Since then, (e.g. in late February 2015 and early February 2016 [Sydney early February]), bomb threats (schools) and anti-terrorism operations have become regular occurrences.

CRIME

Crime rates are generally low, although pickpocketing and purse-snatching occasionally occur in large urban areas. Travelers should be especially vigilant at airports and in public areas, particularly around tourist sites. A recent increase in sexual assaults has been reported in Sydney's western neighborhoods.

POLITICS

The last legislative elections in Australia, a country with a surprisingly unstable government (four different prime ministers between June 2013 and July 2016), were held in July 2016.

TRANSPORTATION and HEALTH

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.

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:

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