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The Australian economy has evolved since the 20th century, when it could be said that it “rode on the sheep’s back” (meaning it relied heavily on its valuable agricultural and then later mineral and fuel resources), the Australia economy of today has increasingly become a knowledge-based economy.
As a result the key drivers in Australia's economic growth come from workers in the following positions:
- Australian agriculture jobs
- Australian mining jobs
- Australian science and research jobs
- Australian IT jobs
The Australian Economy and the Global Economic Crisis
The Australian economy has seen a relatively strong performance from October 2008 to October 2009, escaping two consecutive quarters of economic contraction – the definition used by economists to define a recession.
In short, Australia has fared well during the global economic crisis largely due to its diversified export market, a population rise from Australia immigration and increased birth rate, and a timely and comprehensive economic stimulus package by the Rudd Government.
The Australian Government, led by Kevin Rudd, released an AU$42 billion economic stimulus package in the beginning of 2009, aimed at retaining jobs and insulating Australia against the global recession.
Spending is to be made on schools, housing, energy efficiency in homes, infrastructure and roads over the next two years, as well as the immediate injection of AU$12.7 billion in one-off bonus payments of $900 each for low- and middle-income individuals.
The one-off economic stimulus bonus of $900 went to 8.7 million workers, who had lodged a tax return in 2008 and earning $100,000 or less, as a lump sum payment in April. The website Economicstimulusplan.gov.au provides information and updates on the progress of the stimulus plan, as well as ways individuals, communities and businesses can benefit from the package.
Unemployment and the Australian Economy
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia has seen a much lower unemployment rate than other developed countries, rising slightly to 5.7% in September 2009 from a historical low of 4% in February 2008.
In comparison, the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics reported a rate of 7.9% unemployment for the three months toAugust. Canada reported a rate of 8.7% and the United States 9.8%.