There are three principal land masses in this region – Australia (including Tasmania), Papua New Guinea (including New Britain) and the two principal islands of New Zealand.
The Pacific Ocean contains a great many small islands – but the most significant single economy is the Fiji archipelago. Hawaii is not considered to be in this region, as it is a state of the USA. All these territories owe a considerable legacy to former British rule and Australia is the only country with a substantial population – albeit scattered around the coastal rim of a vast landscape. All countries are parliamentary democracies, allowing a considerable amount of individual and press freedom.
Labour market summary: There is a plentiful supply of skilled labour in this region and some scope to bring those with rare higher level skills in from overseas. In Australia the law provides for free association, but is generally restrictive concerning multi-company collective agreements – except for low-paid workers. Labour relations and employee terms and conditions are subject to a “Fair Works Commission”.
In New Zealand a trade union must be independent and have at least 15 members. The right to strike in key sectors is subject to strict notice periods. There is no statutory right to a weekly 24-hour rest period – although this is common in practice.
Greatest advantages: Strategic position between Asia and North America, high living standards, democratic governments. There is an attractive flat rate of income tax for non-residents in Fiji.
Greatest disadvantages: Tight restrictions on management-union relations following the uncovering of a high level of past collusion. Generally high labour costs and taxation levels. Rates of individual and corporation tax are particularly high in Papua New Guinea.
Proportion of global land area: 5.7%
Proportion of global population: 0.5%
Annual rate of population increase: 1.6%
Life expectancy: Men 80 years (A/NZ) Women years; 84 (A), 83 (NZ)
Working population in the informal economy: Australia 15% of GDP
GSI Modern slavery (Forced Labour) 0.001 % Australia / New Zealand
Unemployment rate: 5.7%
GDP/capita PPP (current) $44414 (Australia), $35271 (N Zealand)
Female labour participation rate: 64%
Male labour participation rate: 72.5%
World Bank rating (doing business): New Zealand (1) to (109) Papua NG / 190
FedEE overall employment potential rating: 8/10
FedEE regulatory rating: 9/10
Minimum wage rates (local rates: selected states)
– Australia $18.29 per hour July 2017
– Fiji $2.32 to $2.68 an hour July 2017
– New Guinea 140 pgk/week July 2017
– New Zealand $15.75 / hour April 1st 2017