Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing. It has a market economy, a relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland in 2013, although the nation's poverty rate increased from 10.2% to 11.8%, from 2000/01 to 2013. It was identified by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as the nation with the highest median wealth in the world and the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013.
There are many forms of transport in Australia. Australia is highly dependent on road transport. There are more than 300 airports with paved runways. Passenger rail transport includes widespread commuter networks in the major capital cities with more limited intercity and interstate networks. The Australian mining sector is reliant upon rail to transport its product to Australia's ports for export.
The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, the highest in the world. Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education (preschool) and primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (high schools), tertiary education (universities, TAFE colleges, and vocational education and training providers) and adult education (referred to as adult and community education or ACE). Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, but the Federal Government also plays a funding role. For primary and secondary education, government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in private or independent schools. At the tertiary level, the majority of Australia's universities are public, and student fees are subsidised through a student loan program where payment becomes due when graduates reach a certain income level.
Australia's climate is governed largely by its size and by the hot, sinking air of the subtropical high pressure belt. This moves north and south with the seasons. But it is variable, with frequent droughts lasting several seasons-thought to be caused in part by the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. The climate varies widely due to its large geographical size, but by far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid. Only the south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate and moderately fertile soil. The northern part of the country has a tropical climate, varied between tropical rainforests, grasslands and desert.