1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
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June 4, 2010
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Year Book Australia, 2009-10: Media story leads

Australia’s biodiversity

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Australia’s isolation, varied climate and geology makes it one of the most biologically unique and diverse countries in the world. (Page 2)

Australia’s biodiversity has significant economic value. One of Australia’s World Heritage Areas, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, contributed approximately $5.4 billion to the economy in 2006-07. (Page 2)

The national economic value generated by 15 of Australia’s other World Heritage Areas is approximately $7.25 billion and 83,000 jobs. (Page 2)

Australia has experienced the largest documented decline in the diversity of its species compared to any other continent over the past 200 years. (Page 7)

Since European settlement, about 13% of Australia’s vegetation has been cleared. This includes 60 per cent of southern coastal wetlands. (Page 13)

Since 2000, the amount of land dedicated to formal conservation reserves has increased from approximately 62 million hectares to approximately 89 million hectares. This is over 11% of Australia’s land area. (Page 17)

Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity

2010 is the United Nations International Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures. Over 400 languages, including approximately 145 Indigenous languages are currently spoken in Australia. (Page 25, Indigenous languages page 34)

Australians identify with more than 270 ancestries. (Page 25)

2006-07 saw the highest number of people confer their citizenship to Australia since 1999-00. (Page 27)

More then 4 million people have become Australian citizens since 1949. (Page 27)

In 2006, almost three-quarters of people born overseas who had been resident in Australia for two years or more were Australian citizens. (Page 28)

Languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – A uniquely Australian heritage

At the time of colonisation, there were about 250 different Indigenous languages spoken in Australia. Most of these languages had several dialects. (Page 29)

Each Australian Indigenous language is associated with an area of land and has spiritual significance. (Page 29)

Australian Indigenous languages can be divided into between 10 and 24 language families. (Page 30)

According to the 2006 Census, 5,769 Australians spoke Yumplatok and 3,869 Australians spoke Kriol, both Indigenous-English contact languages. (Page 32)

Less than 20 Australian Indigenous languages are considered to be strong in the sense that they are still spoken by all generations. (Page 34)

In 1996, 12.1% of Indigenous Australians were Indigenous language speakers. This declined to 11.1% in 2001, and to 9.2% in 2006. (Page 35)

In 2006, Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri languages registered 34 and 159 speakers respectively. These languages were previously thought to be no longer spoken. (Page 35)

Girl Guides – leading the way for Australian girls and young women

In 2008, there were 28,362 Girl Guides in Australia, contributing to the count of over 10 million girl guides in 145 countries worldwide. (Page 46)

This year, Girl Guides celebrates its centenary. In Australia, Guiding developed independently in each State until its official start in 1911. The Federal Council of the Girl Guides Associations of Australia was formed in 1926. By 1945 every state and territory in Australia was active in the Girl Guides. (Page 44)

Australia was a founding member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which formed in 1926. (Page 44)

In 1947 the Australian Girl Guides donated the ingredients for the Queen’s wedding cake. (Page 44)

The golden anniversary of the Girl Guides was commemorated in Australia in 1960 with a postage stamp. This tradition will be continued this year with commemorative stamps to be issued in September 2010 to mark the centenary of Girl Guides. (Page 44)

Today, Girl Guides participate in community activities and events such as Clean Up Australia Day, Harmony Day and National Tree Planting Day. (Page 48)

2010 is the Australian Year of the Girl Guide. (Page 42)


Australia’s transport sector is one of the largest generators of greenhouse gas emissions (Page 84)

The proportion of households with two or more registered motor vehicles increased from 51% in 2006 to 56% in 2009. (Page 84)

Eight in ten people over the age of 18 used a private motor vehicle to get to or from work or full-time study in 2009. (Page 85)

Almost nine out of ten people are concerned about water shortages (89%), around three-quarters are concerned about climate change (73%), and about two-thirds are concerned about the accumulation and disposal of household waste (69%). (Page 88)

Eighty-eight per cent of Australians reported that they took steps to limit their electricity use in the 12 months to 2007-08. (Page 88)

Queensland was the only state to drop in waste re-use, down to 87% in 2009 from 92% in 2006. (Page 96)

Land, Biodiversity, Water and Air

Between 2000 and 2009, the number of endangered fauna species increased by 41%. (Page 112)

The cost of weeds to Australia’s agriculture (impact and control costs) is estimated to be more then $3.4 billion annually. (Page 115)

Australia has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3% per capita over the period 1990 to 2007. (Page 127)


Since Federation in 1901, Australia’s population has grown by over 17.6 million people. In 1958 there were more males than females living in Australia, while in 2008, there were more females than males. (Page 192)

Since 2006, net overseas migration has contributed more people to the population than natural increase. (Page 192)

The change in Australia’s age structure is illustrated by the change in the median age. The median age rose from 31.6 years in 1988 to 36.9 years in 2008. Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age during this period, increasing from 31.4 years in 1988 to 39.4 years in 2008. (Page 193)

In 2008 there were just over 2.8 million people aged 65 years or more in Australia, an increase from 2007 of 67,700 people. All states and territories experienced growth in this age group with the Northern Territory experiencing the greatest increase. (Page 193)

Between June 2007 and 2056, the populations of both Queensland and Western Australia are projected to more than double. During the same period, the Northern Territory is projected to increase by 87%. In comparison, the projected growth at the Australia level is 69%. (Page 196)

The estimated resident Indigenous population at 30 June 2006, was 517,000 people or 2.5% of the total Australian population. (Page 202)

In 2008, 285,200 births were registered in Australia. This results in a total fertility rate of 1.92 babies per woman. This was 19,300 (17.2%) more births than were registered in 2006. (Page 204)

Male life expectancy has increased from 55.2 years in 1901-1910 to 79.0 years in 2005-07. Female life expectancy has increased from 58.5 years to 83.7 years during the same period. (Page 206)

Australians have a life expectancy which compares well with other developed nations. Life expectancy of Australian males (79.0 years) is exceeded only by Iceland, Hong Kong and Switzerland. (Page 207)


Between June 2008 and June 2009 the labour force grew by 1.5%. During the same period the population aged 15 years and over grew by 1.8%. The difference between these two growth rates reflects a decrease in the labour force participation rate over this period. (Page 233)

The long term rise in the labour force participation rate is driven by the growth in female participation rate. The female participation rate increased from 50.4% in 1988-89 to 58.7% in 2008-09. (Page 234)

During the period 2004-05, the total number of employed people grew by 9.8% to 10.8 million. This comprised an increase of 9.2% in the level of full-time employment and an increase of 11.5% in the level of part-time employment. (Page 234-235)

In 2008-09, over one quarter of the 11.4 million people in the Australian labour force, were born overseas. (Page 236)

The occupation groups with the highest proportions of employed people were professionals (21%) and clerical and administrative workers (15%). The occupation group with the lowest proportion of employed people was Machinery operators and drivers (7%). (Page 241)

Income & Welfare

Average household income in 2007-08 ($811 per week) was 16% higher than in 2005-06. (Page 276)

Tasmania's average disposable household income was 19% below the national average and South Australia was 8% lower. The Australian Capital Territory was shown to have the highest average household income at 27% above the national average. (Page 279)

In 2005–06 average household net worth was $562,900. Owner occupied dwellings were the main form of asset held by households. Balances in superannuation funds were the largest financial asset held by households, averaging $84,500 per household. (Page 282 and 284)

Australians accessing the Newstart allowance on a short term basis, increased by 40% in 2008-09 on the previous 12 months. (Page 295)

Based on 2005–2007 data, the life expectancy of Indigenous people was estimated to be 67.2 years for males and 72.9 years for females. This represents a gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy of 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females (page 308)

In 2008 and 2009 The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment supported 114,000 Australians adversely affected by events such as the Mumbai terrorist attacks, South-east Queensland storms, flooding in New South Wales, and the Victorian bushfires. (Page 306)


Data from 2007-08 shows 33% of households owned their homes outright and 35% were owners with a mortgage. A further 24% were renting from a private landlord and 5% were renting from a state or territory housing authority. (Page 320)

Households in Sydney and Canberra had the highest average weekly housing costs – $292 and $270 respectively. At $160 per week, average housing costs in Hobart were the lowest of all the capital cities in 2007-08. (Page 324)

In 2008–09, lending institutions financed 680,000 dwellings for owner occupation, 55,000 less than in the previous year, but still 50% higher than in 1994–95. While the number of established dwellings financed grew 71% over this longer term period, the number of new dwellings financed declined by 17%. (Page 326)

In 2008–09, first home buyers' average borrowings exceeded that of changeover buyers for the first time in over a decade. First home buyers borrowed $269,000 on average, which was $3,000 more than changeover buyers. (Page 326)


In 2007–08 the majority of Australians aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in good health, with 85% reporting their health status as good, very good or excellent. (Page 344)

Seventy-five per cent of the Australian population reported one or more long–term conditions in 2007-08 (i.e. conditions that have lasted, or are expected to last, for 6 months or more). (Page 344)

There were 137,854 deaths registered in 2007, consisting of 70,569 males and 67,285 females. (Page 345)

Heart disease and strokes were the leading causes of death in Australia for males and females. (Page 346)

The 2007-08 National Health Survey collected the following information on lifestyle behaviours; 21% of adults were current smokers and 13% of adults consumed alcohol at levels which, if continued, would be risky or a high risk to their long term health. (Page 347)


There were 9,562 schools operating in Australia at the time of the August 2008 schools census, of which 71% were government schools. (Page 384)

The 3.5 million students attending primary and secondary schools in August 2008 comprised 2.3 million (66%) in government schools, and 1.2 million (34%) in non-government schools. (Page 384)

Of the 426,700 apprentices and trainees in training at 31 March 2009, about two-thirds were males (66%). (Page 390)

In 2008, there were 1.1 million students enrolled in higher education courses, of whom 63% were aged less than 25 years and 55% were female. (Page 391)

The fields of study most popular in 2008 higher education enrolments were management and commerce, society and culture, health and education. These four fields account for 74% of all higher education course enrolments. (Page 392)

In May 2009, 2.9 million people aged 15–64 years applied to enrol in a course of study. Of these, 93% gained a place and were enrolled. (Page 397)

Crime and Justice

The number of victims of robbery, attempted murder, motor vehicle theft, unlawful entry and blackmail/extortion recorded by Australian state and territory police agencies decreased in 2008 from the previous year. The offence category that recorded the largest decline was robbery, down 8%. (Page 416)

Motor vehicle theft (319 victims per 100,000 persons) was at its lowest rate since national reporting began in 1993. (Page 417)

At last count there were 27,615 adult prisoners in Australian prisons. Of the total adult prisoner population, 93% were men and most prisoners (55%) had served prior prison sentences. (Page 431)

The Indigenous imprisonment rate was 1,769 prisoners per 100,000 adults, 13 times more than the non-Indigenous rate (which is 133 prisoners per 100,000. (Page 431)

Just over 800,000 Australians, aged 15 years and over, were victims of personal fraud in the 12 months prior to being interviewed in 2007. Over half of these victims (453,100) incurred financial harm from the fraud, resulting in a combined loss of almost one billion dollars ($977 million). (Page 437)


The vast majority of Australians (85%) visit at least one cultural venue or event in a year. (Page 442)

Cinemas, or other public screenings of a film, were the most highly attended arts venue or event. (Page 442)

Residents in the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest attendance rates for most cultural venues and events of all states and territories, while Western Australians had the highest attendance rate at zoos and aquariums. (Page 442)

Attendance rates for females tended to be higher than for males across all cultural venues and events. (Page 442)


In 2007–08, the value of Australian production, or gross domestic product (GDP), was $1,084 billion, an increase of 4% from 2006–07. In 2007–08, the ratio of GDP to the estimated resident population (GDP per person) was $51,253. (Page 471)

The Construction industry had the highest average annual rate of growth (just over 6%), followed by the communication services (6%) and finance and insurance (5%). (Page 471)

The Property and business services industry had the greatest number of businesses at June 2007 (507,508 or 25% of the total), followed by construction (16%), retail trade and agriculture, forestry and fishing (both 11%). There was a marked decline (4%) in businesses within the Electricity, gas and water supply industry. (Page 475)


At 30 June 2008, the estimated total area of establishments with agricultural activity was 417.3 million hectares representing 54% of the total land area. Six per cent of this land had been cropped. (Page 484)

In 2007–08, 28% (39,600) of all agricultural establishments reported irrigation activity. (Page 485)

The majority of agricultural businesses were mainly engaged in beef cattle farming, grain growing, mixed grain/sheep/beef farming, sheep farming, or dairy cattle farming. (Page 487)

On an agricultural commodity basis, slaughtering of cattle and calves contributed most to the gross value of production ($7.4b) followed by wheat ($5.3b), milk ($4.6b), vegetables ($3.4b) and hay ($2.8b). (Page 487)

Increased grain production along with higher prices for grains, wool and lambs helped improve farm income following the drought-affected 2006–07 season. In 2007–08, dairy farms recorded their highest farm cash income for over 20 years. (Page 489)


The total area of native forests in Australia is estimated to be 147.4 million hectares, which is about 19% of Australia’s land area. (Page 512)

Plantations accounted for 2 million hectares of land use in Australia, which was an increase of nearly 20% in the five years to 2008. (Page 513)

A total of 28.5 million cubic metres of logs were harvested from Australian native forests and plantations in 2007–08. This was an increase of 35% over ten years. The volume harvested from native forests declined by a little over 10% over ten years while the volume harvested from plantations increased by about 75%. (Pages 515-516)

On average, each Australian consumes about 1 cubic metre of domestic and imported timber products each year, including timber used for home building, joinery, furniture and paper products. (Page 515)

The total value of exports of forest products in 2007–08 was $2.5 billion. The value of imports of forest products in 2007–08 was $4.4 billion. This indicates a trade deficit in forest products of $1.9 billion in 2007–08, similar to that in previous years. (Page 516)


In 2007-08, Australia’s top five mining export earners were black coal ($24b), iron ore and pellets ($20b), refined gold ($11b), crude oil and other refinery feedstock ($10b), and copper ($7b). (Page 537)

Mining contributed to 8% of Australia’s GDP in 2007–08. (Page 532)

In the period 2004–05 to 2008–09, the value of exports from the mining industry almost tripled. (Page 533)

In 2007–08 mining businesses paid a total of $12,864m in wages and salaries. (Page 534)

At the end of 2008, Australia had 1,163 kilo tonnes of uranium that could be recovered at costs of less than US$80/kilogram of uranium. This represents around 34% of world resources in this category. (Page 548)


Australia is ranked in the top six countries for resources of black and brown coal, and has the world's largest resources of uranium. (Page 556)

In the period 1999–2009 resources of black coal, brown coal, crude oil and liquified petroleum gas each decreased, while natural gas and uranium both increased. (Page 556)

In 2007–08, black coal accounted for half of Australia's total primary energy production. Renewable energy accounted for only 2%. (Page 558)

In 2007-08 Australia’s total energy use was less than one third of the total energy it produced. (Page 561)

The transport sector was the largest end-user of energy in 2007–08 followed by the manufacturing sector. Together these two sectors account for 66% of total energy end-use. (Page 562)


Food product manufacturing was the largest contributor to total manufacturing sales and service income ($68b) and the largest contributor to total labour costs ($11b). (Page 576)

In 2008–09, the manufacturing industry employed 9% of all workers in Australia, with males outnumbering females by a ratio of around 3 to 1. (Page 578)

The furniture and other manufacturing industry subdivision experienced the greatest increase in operating profit before tax between 2006–07 and 2007–08 (113% increase). (Page 579)

Overall, capital expenditure by the manufacturing industry increased by $1,484m (9%) between 2006–07 and 2007–08. (Page 580)


In 2008–09 the construction industry employed an average of 988,000 people, 2% higher than in 2007–08. (Page 591)

Between 2007–08 and 2008–09, the value of total building work increased by $2,953m (4%) to $78,213m. (Page 593)

Service Industries

In 2007–08 the services-producing industries' overall contribution to GDP was 55%. (Page 598)

In 2007–08 the largest services-producing industry, in terms of industry gross value added, was the Property and business services industry, which accounted for 12% of GDP. (Page 598)

Total retail turnover (in volume terms) increased by 13% between 2004–05 and 2008–09. (Page 600)

Tourism chapter

In 2007–08, international visitors consumed over $23 billion worth of goods and services produced by the Australian economy. The tourism industry’s share of total gross value added in the economy was 3% in 2007-08. This share has declined from a peak of 4% in 2000–01. (Pages 615, 617)

The four major source countries for short-term international visitor arrivals to Australia during 2008 were New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States of America. Arrivals from China increased 42% between 2004 and 2008. (Page 618)

The top destinations for Australian residents departing short term during 2008 were New Zealand, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Indonesia. Departures to Thailand grew 115% between 2004 and 2008. (Pages 620, 621)


The average rate of fuel consumption for all motor vehicles in the year to October 2007 was 14.0 litres per 100 kilometres. The average fuel consumption rate for passenger vehicles was 11.5 litres per 100 kilometres. (Pages 631, 633)

The top 10 airports in Australia all recorded increases in domestic passenger movements in 2008 from a year earlier. The strongest growth was recorded in Darwin (17%), followed by Gold Coast (13%). The lowest growth was recorded in Cairns (4%). (Page 636)

The number of fatal road traffic crashes in 2008 (1,342) fell by 111 compared with 2007. Between 2007 and 2008 fatal crashes in the Northern Territory rose by 43%, while South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia recorded the greatest falls of 19%, 13% and 12% respectively. (Page 637)

Information and communication technology

In 2008–09, the number of households with a broadband internet connection had almost quadrupled from 2004–05 to an estimated 5.0 million households. This represented three out of five households in Australia and 86% of households with internet access. (Page 649)

Overall income that resulted from orders received via the internet for goods or services increased significantly from $56.7 billion to $81.0 billion over the period between 2005-06 and 2007-08. (Page 651)

During 2008–09, two-thirds (67%) of people aged 15–34 years accessed the internet every day, compared with around half the people aged 35 years or more. (Page 652)

An estimated 841,000 children (31%) aged 5 to 14 years had access to their own mobile phones in 2009. (Page 654)

Research and innovation

In 2006–07, gross expenditure on research and development was $21 billion, an increase of 31.5% on 2004–05 spending. (Page 660)

Business expenditure on R&D in 2007–08 was 1.27% of Australia's GDP, an increase from 1.20% in the previous year. On this measure Australia is ranked fourteenth in a table of OECD countries, remaining below the average of 1.59%. (Page 661)

National accounts

Australia has experienced relatively strong growth compared with many developed economies over the past ten years. With an average annual growth rate of 3.5% for GDP volumes from 1997 to 2007, it is higher than all of the 'G7' countries, whose average is 2.3%. (Pages 727, 728)

Australia's net worth at the end of June 2008 was estimated to be $6,390 billion in current prices, an increase of 7.1% on 12 months earlier. (Page 736)

The release of the National Income, Expenditure, and Product for the June 2009 quarter marks a 50 year milestone for the Australian National Accounts. (Page 742)

International accounts and trade

The balance on the current account for 2008–09 was a deficit of $38.4 billion, a decrease of 47% on the previous year. Australia recorded a merchandise trade surplus of $11.0b in 2008-09, a turnaround of $32.5b on the deficit recorded in 2007–08. (Pages 750, 754).

The chain volume measures of Australia’s exports of goods and services increased by 2% between 2007–08 and 2008–09. In comparison, the current price value of those exports, which incorporates both volume and price changes, increased by 22%. (Page 752)