Country Idealist Profiles

Australian Capital Territory – Education

Posted in ACT (Australia) - Basics by diego1084 on August 11, 2008

Almost all educational institutions in the Australian Capital Territory are located within Canberra. The ACT public education system schooling is normally split up into Pre-School, Primary School (K-6), High School (7-10) and College (11-12) followed by studies at university or TAFE. Many private high schools include years 11 and 12 and are referred to as colleges. Children are required to attend school until they turn 16 years old. Most suburbs are planned to include a primary school and schools are usually located near open areas for play and sports.

In February 2004 there were 140 public and non-governmental schools in Canberra; 96 were operated by the Government and 44 are non-Government. In 2005 there were 60,275 students in the ACT school system. 59.3% of the students were enrolled in government schools with the remaining 40.7% in non-government schools. There were 30,995 students in primary school, 19,211 in high school, 9,429 in college and a further 340 in special schools.

Students in years 11 to 12 attend college and normally study five to six courses over two years. Certificates are awarded on the basis of continuous assessment of students’ progress at the end of years 10 and 12 by the ACT Department of Education and Training. Year 12 students wishing to pursue tertiary study must sit the ACT Scaling Test (AST) as part of a required Tertiary Entrance Statement. The ACT Scaling Test is used to scale the results of schools relative to each other rather than affecting the marks of individuals directly. It is based on students’ general knowledge, critical and analytical skills. Traditionally students intending to pursue a trade have ended their schooling at the end of high school in order to take up an apprenticeship. In recent years it has become common for students with no tertiary education plans to continue through year 11 and 12 in an accredited scheme.

The ACT government supports home schooling through a policy entitled Registration of Home Schooling in the ACT (1987). In 2000 there were 100 registered home schooled students in the ACT, though there may have been up to another 400 students being home schooled but not registered with the government.

As of May 2004, 30% of people in the ACT aged 15–64 had a level of educational attainment equal to at least an bachelor’s degree, significantly higher that the national average of 19%. The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) in Acton and the University of Canberra (UC) in Bruce. There are also two religious university campuses in Canberra: Signadou is a campus of the Australian Catholic University and St Mark’s Theological College is a campus of Charles Sturt University. The Australian International Hotel School offers degree and diploma level courses and operates the Hotel Kurrajong in Barton. Tertiary level vocational education is also available through the multi-campus Canberra Institute of Technology.

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC) are in the suburb of Campbell in Canberra’s inner northeast. ADFA teaches military undergraduates and postgraduates and is officially a campus of the University of New South Wales while Duntroon provides Australian Army Officer training.

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) offers courses in computer game development and 3D animation.



Australian Capital Territory, Government

Posted in ACT (Australia) - Basics by diego1084 on August 6, 2008

The ACT has internal self-government, but it does not have the full legislative independence of the Australian states. It is governed by a Ministry headed by a Chief Minister. Laws are made in a 17-member Legislative Assembly that has all state and local government functions. However, its decisions can be overruled by the Australian Governor-General (effectively the national government) under section 35 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. The ACT Government is a member of the Council of Australian Governments.

Unlike other self-governing Australian territories, the ACT does not have an Administrator. The Crown is represented by the Governor-General of Australia in the government of the ACT. The Chief Minister performs many of the roles that a state governor normally holds in the context of a state, however the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly gazettes the laws and summons meetings of the Assembly.

ACT Ministers implement their executive powers through the following government departments and agencies:

– ACT Health and

– ACT Planning and Land Authority

– the Chief Minister’s Department

– the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services

– the Department of Education and Training

– the Department of Justice and Community Safety

– the Department of Territory and Municipal Service

In Australia’s Federal Parliament, the ACT is represented by four federal members: two members of the House of Representatives; the Division of Fraser and the Division of Canberra and is one of only two territories to be represented in the Senate with two Senators. The Member for Fraser and the ACT Senators also represent the voters from the Jervis Bay Territory.


The Chief Minister is Jon Stanhope, of the Australian Labor Party. The Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly is Wayne Berry, of the Labor Party. He is the presiding officer of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, the unicameral legislature of the Australian Capital Territory.


The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly performs the roles of both a city council and territory government. The Assembly consists of 17 members, elected from three districts using proportional representation. The three districts are Molongo, Ginninderra and Brindabella, which elect seven, five and five members, respectively. The Chief Minister is elected by the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and selects another four MLAs to serve as Ministers to form, with the Chief Minister, an Executive (known informally as the cabinet).

The Australian national government retains some influence over the ACT government. In the administrative sphere, most frequently this is through the actions of the National Capital Authority which is responsible for planning and development in areas of Canberra which are considered to be of national importance or which are central to Griffin’s plan for the city, such as the Parliamentary Triangle, major approach and processional roads, areas where the Commonwealth retains ownership of the land or undeveloped hills and ridge-lines (which form part of the Canberra Nature Park). The national government also retains a level of control over the Territory Assembly through the provisions of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. This Act of the national Parliament is the constitution for the ACT and limits the range of matters upon which the Assembly can legislate.

The Australian Federal Police provides all of the police services of a state police force under a contractual agreement with the Australian Capital Territory Government. People who have been charged with offences are tried either in the ACT Magistrate’s Court or, for more severe offences, the ACT Supreme Court. Prisoners can be held in remand at the Belconnen Remand Centre in the ACT. As at 2008 there is no prison in the ACT, so people who have been sentenced to imprisonment serve their sentence in NSW; a new prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre, is currently under construction. Courts such as a Small Claims Tribunal and a Family Court exist for civil law actions and other non-criminal legal matters.


Australian Capital Territory, Economy

Posted in ACT (Australia) - Basics by diego1084 on August 6, 2008

Gross Territorial Product (2006-07)

– Product ($m)                 $20,985 (6th)

– Product per capita          $62,793 (2nd)

Australian Capital Territory Unemployment Rate (2006): 3.2%.

As of July 2006, the unemployment rate in Canberra is 2.8%, well below the national unemployment rate of 4.8%, with labour shortages reported in some sectors. As a result of low unemployment and substantial levels of public sector and commercial employment, Canberra has the highest average disposable income of any Australian capital city. The gross average weekly wage of a Canberra resident is $1,208.50, compared with the Australia wide average of $1,043.10. The median house price in Canberra as of June 2005 was $352,500, lower than Sydney, Melbourne and Perth but higher than all other capital cities. The median house price in September 2006 was $375,000. The average price in November 2006 was $411,305. The median weekly rent paid by Canberra residents is higher than rents in all other states and territories. As at the September quarter of 2006 the median rent for a 3 bedroom house was $320 per week. This is the highest of all capital cities in Australia. The median rent for ‘other’ dwellings is $300 per week.

The Australian Capital Territory has the highest proportion of occupied dwellings connected to the Internet (75%), and also the highest proportion of occupied dwellings having Broadband connectivity (53%).

The city’s main industry is government administration and defence, which accounted for 26.1% of Gross Territory Product in 2003–04 and employed over 40% of Canberra’s workforce. The major public-sector employers in Canberra include the parliament and government departments such as Department of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Treasury. A number of Australian Defence Force establishments are located in or near Canberra, most notably the Australian Defence Force headquarters and HMAS Harman, which is a naval communications centre that is being converted into a tri-service, multi-user depot. The former RAAF Fairbairn, adjacent to the Canberra International Airport was sold to the operators of the Airport, but the base continues to be used for RAAF VIP flights.

A growing number of independent software vendors have based themselves in Canberra, to capitalise on the concentration of government customers. Notable among these are QSP, Tower Software, RuleBurst and The Distillery. Property and business services, construction, health and community services, and education are other significant contributors to the economy of Canberra.




Australian Capital Territory, population

Posted in ACT (Australia) - Basics by diego1084 on July 24, 2008

The Population of the ACT is 339,900 people. Over 334,000 live in the capital city, Canberra.



Australian Capital Territory

Posted in ACT (Australia) - Basics, Australia, Australian Capital Territory - ACT by diego1084 on July 24, 2008

Australian Capital Territory locator-MJC.png

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and its smallest self-governing internal territory. It is an inland enclave in New South Wales, situated in bushland.

The ACT was conceived during the federation conventions of the late 1800s as neutral location for a new National Capital. The Australian Constitution provided that following Federation in 1901, land would be ceded to the new Federal Government. The Territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by the state of New South Wales in 1911, and construction of the capital, Canberra, began in 1913. Canberra is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Australia. With a population of over 334,000, it is Australia’s largest inland city. Outside Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory has no settlements larger than a village.

The ACT is bounded by the Goulburn-Cooma railway line in the east, the watershed of Naas Creek in the south, the watershed of the Cotter River in the west, and the watershed of the Molongo River in the north-east.

Apart from the city of Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory also contains agricultural land (sheep, dairy cattle, vineyards and small amounts of crops) and a large area of national park (Namadgi National Park), much of it mountainous and forested. Small townships and communities located within the ACT include Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall.

Tidbinbilla is a locality to the south-west of Canberra that features the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, operated by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of its Deep Space Network.

There are a large range of mountains, rivers and creeks in the Namadgi National Park. These include the Naas and Murrumbidgee Rivers.

In 1915 the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 created the Jervis Bay Territory as an annexe to the Australian Capital Territory. In 1988, when the ACT gained self-government, Jervis Bay became a separate territory administered by the Minister for Territories.