Economic activities. – The industrial structure of the country has changed considerably after the war. In 1954, out of 3,702,022 people employed, 1,027,331 worked in various manufacturing industries, 577,381 in commerce, 493,298 in agriculture, livestock, hunting and fishing, 446,917 were government officials, professionals, etc., 325,062 in the construction and road industries, 335,835 in transport and communications companies, 224,489 in public establishments, cinemas, etc. Agriculture in a broad sense employs 5.49% of the population, industry 15.87%, services 18.74%; the mechanical and metallurgical industries are in first place, followed by the food and textile industries. In thousands of Australian lire (S-116 ??? A 1 = L. 1400) the net value of industrial production was 1,731,436 in the financial year 1957-58, against a net value of agricultural production of 848,313 (of which 447,645 from breeding, 243,817 from agriculture, 127,959 from dairy products). At the time of the change, the net income of industries amounted to 248,000 Italian lire per resident, against 131,200 Italian lire per resident deriving from land use. Note, however, that there is some inflation, and the 1957-58 prices were about 3 times the 1923-27 and 1940-41 prices.
In 1957-58 there were 252,575 farms in Australia, mostly owner-managed, with an area of 440,000,000 hectares, equal to about 1,700 hectares per farm. Of the 499,981 people residing in the companies, 260,304 are owners, renters or sharecroppers, 35,380 are their relatives, 98,169 are permanent employees and 106,128 temporary employees (including 1914 indigenous). In 1958 there were 224,681 agricultural tractors, and 2,094,000 tons of chemical fertilizers were used on 15 million hectares, 60% of which were pastures. The plane was used to fertilize 530,000 hectares, and to sow another 11,000, to spray 93,000 hectares with insecticides and another 82,000 with herbicides.
Agricultural crops in 1957-58 occupied 8,250,000 hectares, of which 2,150,000 in AustraliaD. Western (mainly wheat and oats), 1,900,000 in New South Wales (wheat, fodder plants), 1,550,000 in Victoria (wheat, hay), 1,500,000 in Australia Southern (wheat and barley), 1,000,000 in Queensland (fodder, sugar cane, wheat), 110,000 in Tasmania (hay). These are the dominant crops, but in New South Wales there were 28 major crops, in Queensland 30, in Victoria 25, in Western Australia. 22, in the Australia Merid. 21, in Tasmania 18. Wheat occupies over 45% of the acreage in 3 states, but the acreage devoted to it has decreased significantly in recent years. Instead, the cultivation of barley, oats, vegetables, sugar cane, tobacco, has increased.
The breeding is characterized by the predominance of sheep (149.315.000 in 1958) mainly for wool (6.495.360 q in 1957-1958) but also for meat (391.973 t in 1958). From the 16,892,000 cattle, 735,600 tons of meat were obtained in 1958; the 3,361,574 dairy cows produced 59 million hl from which 163,500 t of butter and 32,500 t of cheese were obtained. In the same year, there were 1,423,000 pigs and 694,000 horses, the lowest number in a century.
In 1957, 18,500,000 tons of fossil coal and 10,000,000 tons of lignite were produced in Australia the metal content of the minerals extracted was: iron 2,292,500 t, lead 309,500 t, zinc 271,000 t, copper 53,200 t. In addition, 350,000 t of sulfur were obtained. The production of gold is around 1,000,000 ounces, that of silver around 1S,000,000. In order of value, mining production is: coal, lead, gold, copper, rutile, lignite, iron, zinc. Rutile and ilmenite are obtained from the beaches between Brisbane and Sydney. Uranium deposits are exploited in Rum Jungle near Darwin, Mary Kathleen near Cloncurry, and Radium Hill near Broken Hill (but in the territory of South Australia). For Australia business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
In addition to a large variety of light industries, there are state-of-the-art blast furnaces in Newcastle, Wollongong and Whyalla, automobile factories in Adelaide (General Motors-Holden, which produces the only fully Australian automobile), Melbourne, Geelong, and Sydney, and huge refineries. of oil near Perth, Melbourne and Geelong, and Sydney.
Finances. – The country’s financial developments must be considered against the backdrop of an exceptional increase in production activities and a significant increase in the population – also due to the flow of immigration – which have characterized the Australian economy over the last ten years.
Maintaining a condition of balanced progress has been complicated by the violent seasonal and cyclical fluctuations in the balance of payments. In fact, these fluctuations have been the major factor in the changes in the money supply. The emergence of large deficits in current transactions with foreign countries could in any case be dealt with by means of quantitative restrictions on imports and, immediately, the debt positions could be financed with revenues from sales of newly produced gold, with the inflow of private capital, with loans from the World Bank and with the purchase of dollars through funds drawn from the central reserves of the sterling area.
On the domestic level, the alternation of movements with foreign countries required the adoption of a flexible conduct on the part of the monetary and fiscal authorities. In particular, the inflationary trends that up to 1958 accompanied the process of creation and diversification of the industrial apparatus could be effectively countered through a shrewd policy of public spending and the maneuvering of bank reserves (special accounts). The state budget closed in surplus throughout the period, a surplus which was partly used to repay the internal public debt. The decrease in central government debt, however, was matched by an increase in that contracted by local authorities, engaged in public works and infrastructure.
Until 1953 the central bank (Commonwealth Bank) also carried out the activities of ordinary bank and special credit institution through special sections for the financing of agricultural, industrial and construction activities. With the Bank Act of 1953, banking functions were entrusted to a new body separate from the central bank: the Commonwealth Trading Bank. After a long legislative process begun in October 1957, the bill that provides for the reorganization of the entire state sector of credit institutions was approved in April 1959. With the new provision, whose entry into force was not still established, the Reserve Bank of Australia is established with exclusive functions of central bank, but with the task of continuing to exercise agricultural credit through the specific section already existing at the Commonwealth Bank. Instead, the land and industrial credit sections should be merged into a new lending institution: the Commonwealth Development Bank. This, together with the other credit institutions (Commonwealth Trading Bank and Savings Bank) should be incorporated into the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, which would thus centralize the credit activities of the aforementioned state bodies in the various sectors.
Since 1951 the exchange rate of the Australian pound has been linked to that of the British pound and has therefore varied in parallel with the exchange rate of this with other currencies. Compared to the US dollar, the current exchange rate is 2.247 when buying and 2.231 when selling.