The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth largest continent worldwide. Located in Oceania, the country occupies the main continental mass of the Sahul Shelf, in addition to some islands in the Pacific, Indian and Antarctic Oceans. The closest countries to Australia are Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the French dependency of New Caledonia to the northeast, and New Zealand to the southeast. Its population barely exceeds 20 million inhabitants, and are mostly concentrated in the coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the capital Canberra.
Australia ranks second in the UN's Human Development Index, only surpassed by Norway, and the fourth freest economy according to the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. It has one of the highest income per capita worldwide, slightly higher than the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France in terms of purchasing power parity. Australia has a solid and stable economy, with reduced unemployment, controlled inflation, relatively small public debt, and a strong and stable financial system. Its currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Its main economic activity are services, including tourism, education and financial services, accounting for 69 per cent of its GDP. The industry accounts approx. one third of its GDP and its mainly comprised by mining, industry and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel. The agriculture and the exploitation of natural resources, which comprise 3 and 5 per cent of the GDP, respectively, contributes substantially to its exports, mainly to Japan, China, the United States, South Korea and New Zealand.
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