Australia - Economic sectors

The export of agricultural and mineral resources has been the mainstay of Australia's economy for many years and continues to be a significant contributor to the GDP. Commodities produced in these sectors generate 57 percent of the value of total exports. The services sector (driven partly by the continuing development of the tourism industry) makes up an increasingly dominant proportion of GDP. The dependence on the export value of commodities puts Australia somewhat at the mercy of fluctuations in world commodity prices. Australia's attempts to increase manufactures have met with competition from the global market. Therefore, Australia has focused on developing its service sector.

During the 1990s, many Australian government-owned or partially government-owned companies were privatized or partially privatized. Notable examples of this process include the partial privatization of the Commonwealth Bank, the national airline Qantas, and the telephone company Telstra. Currently, public enterprises account for about 10 percent of total economic output in the country.

Australian companies are regulated by a number of government agencies. Chief among these is the Trade Practices Commission, which has the responsibility of encouraging competition and preventing monopolization in any industry. The Trade Practices Commission is concerned with price discrimination, resale price maintenance, misuse of market power, types of exclusive dealing, and anticompetitive agreements. Another government body, the Prices Surveillance Authority, identifies prices that are deemed excessive and establishes inquiries to determine if high prices result from anti-competitive or collusive company

behavior. A third government body, the Industry Commission, is concerned with the allocation of resources in the economy as a whole. The Industry Commission advises the government on the setting of tariffs and other protective barriers needed to support Australian industry or to make it more competitive globally.

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