Australia Country Report
The Liberal-National coalition returned to government following the July 2016 election, but the government's slim majority raises policy instability risks over the next two years. Australia continues to encourage foreign investment, although foreign ownership of domestic assets will remain politically sensitive in strategic sectors. Unions and environmental groups will continue to stage occasional strikes and protests, affecting public services, mining, and construction. Although protests will occasionally cause limited disruption to business districts, property damage is likely to be minimal. Short-term growth remains constrained by weak business investment, but average real GDP growth is expected to remain between 2% and 3% in the next three years.
Australia's operational environment is attractive and welcoming to potential investors overall, although there is a degree of political sensitivity over the foreign ownership of Australian assets. The bureaucracy is efficient, and the country is seen as one of the least corrupt in the world. Larger resource-based projects occasionally encounter opposition from environmental campaigners – the most prominent example in 2017-2018 concerns environmental opposition to the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, which has been the subject of peaceful protests in capital cities, as well as legal challenges. Labour-relations risks to business have declined significantly since 2012, but can still cause disruptions, particularly in the mining, construction and transportation sectors.
The government judges the risk of a terrorist attack to be probable. On 29 July 2017, police arrested four men in Sydney in connection with a plot to smuggle an explosive onto an aircraft. On 27 November 2017, police arrested an individual allegedly intending to conduct an armed attack on crowds in Melbourne during New Year's Eve celebrations. Further bombing attempts are likely, but police counter-terrorism capability is robust, and plots will probably be disrupted during planning stages. Occasional lone-actor attacks utilising small-arms or knives are also likely. Attack targets include the security services or people in public spaces in cities such as Sydney or Melbourne.
The risk of interstate conflict affecting Australian territory is low. Australia's defence strategy is founded on its long-standing military co-operation with the United States, and Australia will support US policy on defence and security matters, as exemplified by Prime Minister Turnbull's statement in August 2017 affirming that Australia would aid the US in the event of a conflict with North Korea. The current government plans to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2021 – bringing estimated expenditure to USD147 billion – and both major political parties are likely to continue to support this policy.
Small protests motivated by diverse social concerns occur almost monthly in Australia and usually attract several hundred participants. For example, on 22 August 2017 100 people rallied outside the Department of Veterans' Affairs to demand it establish a royal commission into rising veteran suicide rates. Most protests are likely to remain peaceful, although there was a slight increase in protest-related altercations in 2016. Although protests occasionally cause disruption to central business districts and local traders, the likelihood of property damage is exiguous.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all people over one year of age who enter Australia within 6 days of having stayed overnight or longer in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, including São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, and Tanzania, but excluding the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador) and limited to Misiones Province in Argentina.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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.
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.
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.
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