Australia, one of the Oceania countries is located between the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Thus developed as one of the wealthiest countries of the world, covers a total of 7, 741, 220 sq. km of area, making it the sixth largest countries of the world.

Australian territory beside its mainland includes Tasmania Island and many other smaller islands on the Pacific Ocean. Timor and Arafura Seas separate Australia from Asia and Tasman Sea separates it from New Zealand.

The neighboring countries of Australia are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor in the north, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in the northeast and New Zealand in the south east.

Australia is an island country, with no land boundary, and also occasionally called an island continent due to its size. In fact, it is sometimes referred as the smallest continent of the world.

The world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef is located in the north east side of the country. Australia is located between 27° 00' S latitude and 133° 00' E longitude. Canberra is the capital city of the country and the popular tourist destination Sydney is its largest city. The vast size of Australia is home to varied beautiful landscapes.

Climate

Australia's climate is governed by the hot, sinking air of the sub-tropical high pressure belt. This moves north and south with the seasons, so that the rainfall pattern over Australia is highly seasonal. Australia's rainfall is the lowest of the seven continents (besides Antarctica). But it is variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons—thought to be caused in part by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

Because Australia is a small continent, separated from polar regions by the Southern Ocean, it is not subject to the movements of frigid polar air that sweep over Northern Hemisphere continents during winter. Consequently, its winter is relatively mild, so that there isn't the great contrast between summer and winter temperatures there is in the northern continents.

Yet in many parts of the country, seasonal highs and lows can be considerable: temperatures have ranged from above 50 °C (122 °F) to well below zero. Nonetheless, minimum temperatures are moderated owing to the lack of mountains and the influence of surrounding oceans has been a major issue in Australia since the beginning of the 21st century.

In 2013, the CSIRO released a report stating that Australia is becoming hotter, and that it will experience more extreme heat and longer fire seasons because of climate change.In 2014, the Bureau of Meteorology released a report on the state of Australia's climate that highlighted several key points, including the dramatic increase in Australia's temperatures (particularly night-time temperatures) and the increasing frequency of bush fires, droughts and floods, which have all been linked to climate change.

Since the beginning of the 20th century Australia has experienced an increase of nearly 1 °C in average annual temperatures, with warming occurring at twice the rate over the past 50 years than in the previous 50 years. Recent climate events such as extremely high temperatures and widespread drought have focused government and public attention on the impacts of climate change in Australia. Despite a slight increase in overall rainfall in Australia, rainfall patterns are expected to be problematic, as rain has become heavier and infrequent, with little or no uptrend in rainfall in the Western Plateau and the Central Lowlands of Australia. Water sources in the southeastern areas of Australia have been depleted due to increasing population in urban areas (rising demand) coupled with climate change factors such as persistent prolonged drought (diminishing supply). At the same time, Australia continues to have the highest per capita green house gas emissions. Temperatures in Australia have also risen dramatically since 1910 and nights have become warmer.

Community Engagement
  • Changing Climate, Changing Creation, which is being distributed to churches across the country. The brochure encourages Australian Christians to: write to or visit their federal MP and ask what they are doing to address the threat of climate change; find out more about reducing energy and water usage and waste at home; and take action on climate change within churches and small groups.
  • Ipswich Green was formed by an automotive dealer to provide like minded businesses a way of engaging the community regarding carbon emissions.

Literature Janette Hartz-Karp writes that "to deal with the complexity of climate change and oil dependency, we need a radical rethink of how to engage citizens in meaningful, influential dialogue" Deliberative democracy presents a wide range of strategies to involve communities in these important decisions.

Australia's Neighbors
  • New Zealand
  • New Zealand is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean situated south-east of the Australian continent across the Tasman Sea. The country contains two major islands (named the South and the North), which are the 12th and 14th largest islands in the world, as well as the much smaller island of Kermadec to the north, Tokelau to the north-east and Stewart Island in the far south. New Zealand is located in the mid-latitudes and extends for 1600 kilometers between 34 degrees and 47 degrees south latitude. With an area of 270 000 square kilometers, it is one-thirtieth the size of Australia. New Zealand was initially governed as a dependency of New South Wales before it separated as a colony in the 19th century. The capital city is Wellington but its largest metropolis is Auckland, located at the base of the Northland peninsula on an isthmus that comprises its narrowest neck of land. It has become New Zealand's largest city with urban sprawl that is expanding, particularly toward the south.

  • Indonesia
  • Indonesia is situated to Australia's immediate north and shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, Brunei and Malaysia. Indonesia is the largest of Australia's near neighbors with 60% of its population of nearly 250 million crowded onto the island of Java. The national capital, Jakarta, is located on Java. Indonesia consists of an arc of 17 508 islands that stretch for roughly 5120 kilometers and of which 6000 are inhabited. It is 2012 kilometers from north to south and spans three time zones. Its islands include Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi, as well as Borneo and western New Guinea. Other islands include Timor and Bali.

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Papua New Guinea is one of Australia's largest and most populous Asia-Pacific neighbors. Sharing a border with Indonesia, it is located to Australia's immediate north. Papua New Guinea consists of the eastern half of the large island of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago (whose largest islands are New Britain, New Ireland, and Manus), the northernmost Solomon Islands of Bougainville and Buka, and several smaller island groups east of New Guinea. The capital of Papua New Guinea is Port Moresby, which is the largest urban metropolis south of Honolulu, north of Australia and east of Indonesia. It was granted independence in 1975 from its former status as a colony of Australia.

OSHC Partners:
Videos About Australia: