Australia Country Report
Australia's operational environment is attractive and welcoming to potential investors overall, although there is political sensitivity over the foreign ownership of Australian assets. The bureaucracy is efficient, and the country is perceived to be one of the least corrupt in the world. Larger resource-based projects encounter opposition from environmental campaigners – the most prominent example being the 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 substantially since 2012 but can still cause disruptions, particularly in the mining, construction, and transportation sectors.
The 15 March attack in Christchurch, New Zealand raises the likelihood of right-wing copycat attacks and Islamic State-inspired revenge attacks against police and civilians, although such attacks will likely be lower capability, using knives or vehicles rather than assault weapons. The government assesses the risk of a terrorist attack to be probable. Australia has experienced several bombing attempts: for example, in July 2017, the police arrested four individuals in Sydney allegedly in connection with a plot to smuggle an explosive onto an aircraft. However, police counter-terrorism capability is robust and plots will probably be disrupted during the planning stages. Sydney or Melbourne are the most likely target cities.
Crime levels in Australia are similar 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 over the last decade, although sexual assault rates rose by 8% during 2017. However, Australia is a hub for drug trafficking. In a single incident in December 2017, authorities seized 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine worth an estimated AUD1 billion. Australia's anti-money-laundering regime is comprehensive, with legislative amendments passed in late 2017 extending the legislation to cover digital currency providers.
The risk of interstate conflict affecting Australian territory is very low. Australia's defence strategy is founded on its long-standing military alliance with the United States, and Australia will support US policy on defence and security matters, as exemplified by former prime minister Turnbull's statement in August 2017 affirming that Australia would aid the United States in the event of a conflict with North Korea. The government intends to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2021 – bringing estimated expenditure to USD147 billion – and both major political parties will probably continue to support this policy.
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).
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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