How is Australia changing and evolving? Count the ways, according to Year Book Australia 2007, released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics:

  • Of the 91,000 people employed by the defence forces, in June last year over 4,000 personnel were deployed on several operations around the world.
  • Agriculture contributes around 3% to gross domestic product, but accounts for 70% of water consumption and almost 60% of Australia’s land area.
  • Governments spend around $412 per person each year on justice.
  • Mineral exploration expenditure in 2005-06 was $1.24 billion, the highest recorded in over 30 years.
  • At the end of the June quarter 2006, there were almost 6 million active internet subscribers in Australia.
  • The number of listed threatened fauna rose by nearly 20% from 323 to 384 (of which 130 were birds and 117 were mammals) since the introduction of the Endangered Species Act in 1999. In June 2006, about half of these species were vulnerable, one-third were more seriously threatened (endangered) and the remainder were presumed extinct.
  • 65% of Indigenous people reported at least one long-term health condition.
  • Lifesavers saved 10,775 drowning swimmers in 2005-06.

Have a patriotic Australia Day and swim between the flags. We’ll be back on Monday.

Peter Fray

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