Climate and cultivation zones of Australia The climatic conditions are also by the belt-term agricultural use and their increasing extensification traced towards the centre. On the wooded hill country in the southeast, is a semi-circle of intensive livestock farming and a wheat belt which eventually crosses over into extensive sheep farming. Large areas of arid regions can only be managed, because groundwater in the form of artesian wells are available. The coastal areas which receive plenty of rainfall, are the favoured areas for human settlement and the aquaculture sector. Tropical produce plantations thrive along the coast of Queensland. On the western side of the southern coast, orchards and vineyards are plentiful. Numerous irrigation projects seek to mitigate the climatic risk for agriculture. Beef, wheat and wool still form the backbone of Australian agriculture. Their production from year to year fluctuate greatly due to climate and world market prices. Australian agricultural products are competitive on the world market. As is typical for developed countries, only less than five percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture.
Australian industry and trade The Australian economy is still characterised by a high proportion of primary goods. Mining products account for almost half of all exports, with roughly twelve (12%) percent of agricultural goods and foodstuffs. The traditional focus of trade flows to Europe has been replaced by a move to Asia, especially Japan. Australia is one of the most important suppliers of raw material for these countries. Despite being particularly trade orientated, Australia is a service sector society (75% of the labour force). The big cities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, where approximately two thirds of Australians live, are not only the control centres of the domestic economy, but also focal points of international economic relations.
New Zealand The geographic location is comparable in terms with the climate of Europe. The South Island is dominated by the Southern Alps. The situation in the westerlies results in high precipitation on the west coast, which is heavily forested and inaccessible. The leeward positioned grassy plains of the eastern foothills provide extensive sheep grazing, which merges to the Canterbury Plain with sheep breeding and wheat cultivation. The North Island is characterised by intensive dairy and lamb economy. New Zealand is a leader in the export of dairy products, sheep, beef and fruit. The world's largest planted forests are becoming increasingly important in the production of lumber and pulp. Large hydropower resources, natural gas deposits and geothermal energy sources lead to a favorable energy situation. The Invercargill aluminum industry could therefore establish itself on the south coast. Since 1966, New Zealand and Australia joined in a customs and economic agreement that granted the freedom of movement in both directions and exemption from customs duties. W. Maresch; Ü: Colette Fleming