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Queensland, situated in the northeast corner of Australia, is Australia's holiday playground. It is known as the 'sunshine state' and boasts an enviable climate, growing economy, spectacular natural features and a range of lifestyle choices - from cosmopolitan living to quiet country towns.
Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, is a modern, sophisticated city with a focus on the arts, education, commerce and government.
Immigrating to Australia via Brisbane brings a casual yet vibrant lifestyle with a good street cafe scene, riverside park areas and a busy cultural calendar.
The combination of 'fun and sun' is always the main appeal of the city, but it is also the arts capital of Queensland, with dozens of galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas and concert halls.
Brisbane is a region rich in world-class beaches, rivers, rainforests and mountains.
Further south beyond Brisbane is Australia's tourism capital and the coastline known as the Gold Coast - a 70 kilometre stretch of golden beaches with a vast array of exciting nightlife.
For those who want to live in Australia, there is more to see further up the coast. Just north of Brisbane is the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of the Sunshine Coast, whilst further north on the East Coast are the famous Whitsunday Islands and the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef.
Fresh, clean and appealing, Brisbane offers the best of both worlds - a modern, dynamic and sophisticated city and the gateway to south east Queensland's most spectacular natural attractions.
Queensland's economy is comparable in size to that of high-growth countries in the Asia Pacific region such as Singapore and Malaysia.
Economic growth for the state from 2003 to 2004 was 5.3% - very strong compared to the Australian average of 3.2%.
State Sponsorship Programme
However each state of Australia can participate in this process through the state/territory sponsored visa categories. These categories provide the ability to attract and sponsor migrants who have skills that are of value and importance to the state.
Migrants who are successful in obtaining state/territory sponsorship are then assessed by DIAC against specific criteria. The Commonwealth entry criteria are lower for migrants who obtain state sponsorship. However, the awarding of state/territory sponsorship is no guarantee that a visa will be granted by DIAC.
Regional visas (business and other)
Queensland state sponsorship is available on the following categories of provisional (temporary) and residence (permanent) business skills visas:
- Skilled Independent Regional (SIR)
- State Sponsored Business Owner
- State Sponsored Senior Executive
- State Sponsored Business Investor
- State Sponsored Business Talent
Queensland has a world class education system consisting of a well-developed public and private school education system, nine major universities and numerous technical and further education institutes.
By law school is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15 (Years 1-10 inclusive), while kindergarten, preschool and the final two years of High School (Years 11-12) are optional.
It is common for students to attend their local neighbourhood school, but most schools are not zoned.
Prior to Year 1 there is a non-compulsory year of preschool which is a half week programme to prepare children for full-time schooling.
Formal education in Queensland covers seven years of primary school (Years 1-7) and a further five years of secondary school (Years 8 to 12). In Years 11 and 12 students study for their Senior Certificate which is normally completed over two years, with a wide choice of academic and vocational subjects being available.
The school year usually runs from late January to mid-December. It is divided into two semesters, with two terms in each and vacation breaks for Easter, winter, spring and summer.
Public (Government) schools
There are around 1300 state schools in Queensland, educating approximately 75% of Queensland's primary school children and 65% of secondary school children.
Queensland's public schools open the door to a world of learning for students from all walks of life. Regardless of age, race, gender, disability or location, all Queenslanders have the opportunity to benefit from a quality education.
Queensland state education operates as a partnership between schools and their communities. All state schools are co-educational and attendance at is generally free to Australian citizens or residents.
However the parents and citizens' associations of most schools may ask parents for a financial contribution to help provide extra resources such as materials and sporting equipment.
Details for all state schools in Queensland are listed in the White Pages under 'Schools: State'.
Private (independent) schools
There are around 160 independent schools in Queensland, attended by over 80,000 students. Approximately 30% of Queensland's primary and secondary school age students attend private schools.
Independent schools in Queensland cater for all children depending on their needs. They include very small and large schools, day schools and boarding schools, co-educational and single-sex schools, as well as school related to religious denomination.
The cost of attending independent schools can vary greatly, with annual fees ranging from as little as AUS$500 to as much as AUS$20,000 for boarding schools.
Many private schools have long waiting lists, hence it is best to contact the schools directly to find out about enrolment policy and estimated waiting time for a place. It should also be noted that school terms and school hours in private schools may be different from those at state schools.
Non-government schools in Queensland are listed in the Yellow Pages under 'Schools'.
Kindergarten and Pre-Primary
Preschools are available for four and five year olds, to help them develop their skills, abilities and knowledge. This consists of a 2 to 3 day per week programme to prepare children for a smooth transition to formal schooling.
Preschool education in Queensland is offered at state preschool centres or through early education classes. State preschool centres offer non-compulsory education programmes in association with primary schools and are usually located on the same campus.
Children must turn four by December 31 of the previous year to access the state preschool system. As demand for places in kindergartens and preschools is high it pays to research well in advance and put eligible children on waiting lists.
Primary schools provide Queensland students with seven years of compulsory education curriculum that teachers adapt to suit local and individual needs.
Key learning areas include:
- Studies of Society and Environment,
- Health and physical education,
- Languages other than English,
- Technology and The Arts.
The first year of primary school is Year 1 and children must turn five by December 31st in the previous year to be eligible to enter this year. Primary schools cater for children from Years 1 to 7.
Students enter secondary school at Year 8 and must by law stay at school until they are 15 years of age. Students may choose to continue their Year 11 and 12 studies, however students wishing to continue to university must complete Year 12.
In secondary school, students have different teachers for most subjects and a wide range of subjects are offered to prepare students for further education, family life, citizenship, training and employment.
The curriculum for the compulsory years of secondary schooling, Years 8 to 10, is based on eight key learning areas (KLAs) including:
- Health and Physical Education,
- Languages other than English,
- Society and Environment,
- Technology and the Arts.
Most state secondary schools also offer accredited vocational subjects in a range of industry areas. Many Year 11 and 12 students can access school-based apprenticeships and traineeships involving training and paid work.
Senior students can also earn credit towards vocational education programmes offered at Institutes of Technical and Further Education or other accredited providers.
Queensland operates a system of school-based assessment, whereby schools teach and assess their own students. After 12 years of schooling, students receive the Senior Certificate. The majority of these students also qualify to receive the Tertiary Entrance Statement which records the data used by universities and institutes of Technical and Further Education.
The Senior Certificate is issued by the Queensland Studies Authority but it is based on school assessment of students.
Tertiary Education - Vocational and educational training facilities
There are a number of options available in Queensland for those who wish to continue their studies in the area of vocational learning. Vocational education and training in Queensland consists of the Government Technical and Further Education (TAFE) sector and private providers, such as private colleges, community providers, professional associations and schools.
Vocational education and training aims to prepare students for future employment, supplement previous training or provide specialised training in particular aspects of jobs.
Higher education in Queensland has a reputation for excellence and quality with over 120 years of history, over 100 campuses and 800 programmes.
TAFE Queensland is the largest, most experienced provider of vocational education, training and adult learning in Queensland.
Tertiary education institutions in Brisbane are listed under 'Universities' in the Yellow Pages phone directory.
Universities in Queensland have developed a well-earned reputation for excellence in the higher education sector.
There are nine university institutions in Queensland offering a full range of academic and professional disciplines. Queensland universities offer two levels of study: undergraduate which includes associate diplomas and bachelor degrees; postgraduate which includes postgraduate certificates and diplomas and master's degrees by either course work or research and doctorates.
All universities offer innovative courses, flexible teaching and learning environments, close liaison with professional groups business and industry, national and international research and partnerships with communities.
Over the past 10 years Queensland has generated approximately a quarter of the 1.7 million new jobs in Australia.
Strong population and economic growth have contributed to Queensland sustaining a high rate of job creation, with the sate's working population increasing at an average annual rate of 2.8%. This is significantly above Australia's national average of 2.0%.
Queensland has long been recognised for its mining and minerals processing expertise, however it is now also developing an increasingly diversified agribusiness and manufacturing base.
Queensland is also leading the way in a number of industry sectors including aviation and logistics, biotechnology, communications and information and regional service centres.
Other growth sectors include light metals, fibre composites, marine, aerospace and the food and wine industries.
Looking for work
There are a number of resources available to jobseekers in Queensland:
- The state’s major daily newspaper The Courier Mail has a dedicated section advertising employment vacancies, with Wednesday and Saturday editions holding the most extensive employment section. Other newspaper sources include The Australian and the Australian Financial Review.
- Recruitment agencies and consultancies are another key source for job leads and can be found in the Yellow Pages or the career section of local newspapers.
- The internet is also a useful resource and there are many sites that list job vacancies in Queensland.
- Many large companies have their own websites, which may outline career opportunities or list job vacancies in their organisation.
Typically, houses in Queensland are large and situated on spacious suburban blocks which are ideal for gardens and outdoor activities. Medium density living is also gaining popularity, especially in the inner city regions.
There are a variety of options when it comes to choosing where to live in Brisbane and if you haven't lived in a sub-tropical climate before, there are a number of things that you should look for in a house so that it stays naturally cool.
While buying a house in Brisbane is largely the same as buying a house anywhere else, there are some things that are unique to Brisbane, such as local planning, zoning changes and flood information. These factors can influence local property prices and it is advisable to have a solid understanding of each of these factors before any offer to buy is made.
One of the major influences in terms of where migrants choose to live is affordability. According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia the average median property price in Queensland as at December 2004 was approximately $AUS309,000, making it more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne.
When you first move to Brisbane, it's likely that you'll need to rent a property. Whether you want an inner-city apartment, sprawling traditional Queenslander or something in-between, there are houses, units and townhouses available for rent in every suburb of Brisbane.
The average rent for a three bedroom home in Brisbane is around AUS$260.00 per week, however prospective tenants should expect to pay around AUS$300.00 per week for an inner city rental property.
To secure a property, tenants will need to pay a security bond (refundable deposit) plus a payment of several weeks rent which has to be paid in advance. In many instances two references will also be required.
Properties for rent are advertised in the 'To Let' section of The state’s major daily newspaper The Courier Mail. Landlords and real estate agents place advertisements in the classifieds section, with the largest number of listings being placed in Wednesday and Saturday editions.
On average around half of the available properties are usually rented out within two weeks of being advertised, with the better ones often being taken within days of coming onto the market.
The state of Queensland is well serviced by a comprehensive public transport network consisting of trains, buses and ferries.
Metropolitan areas are divided into zones and ticket types and costs are determined by which zone is being traveled in and for how long. Tickets can be purchased on the spot when boarding buses, ferries and from most train stations.
The central business district of Brisbane is compact and easy to see and explore on foot, however to see more of Brisbane's sights and attractions, an extensive network of modern public transport facilities including bus, commuter rail and ferries are available.
Having a car will provide unlimited freedom to explore the greater Brisbane region, and the Pacific Motorway which services the major growth corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is of world class standard.
Modern, efficient busways and rail links make getting around Brisbane and its surrounds easy and affordable. Taxi services are plentiful in Brisbane, operating on a 24-hour basis with metered fares.
With a population of around 3.8 million people, Queensland is the third largest state in Australia, behind New South Wales and Victoria.
The sunshine state's capital, Brisbane, is also Australia's third largest city behind Sydney and Melbourne with a population of 1.6 million people.
Queensland's weather consists of warm humid summers and mild clear winters and enjoys more winter sunshine and warmth than other Australian states.
Summer months are December to February with average temperatures between 21-30 degrees Celsius, while winter months are June to August with typical temperatures between 9 - 22 degrees Celsius.
Winter in Queensland is a dry season with the most mild and sunny weather appearing during June, July and August.
Summer is typically warm and in some areas the weather can be similar to South-East Asia and the South Pacific regions.
Queensland is +8.0 hours Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Please note that daylight savings (summer) time is not observed in Queensland.
Queensland is the second largest of Australia's states and territories and has the largest habitable area, covering approximately 1.7 million square kilometres and 7,400 kilometres of coastline.
Queensland is also home to the Great Barrier Reef which extends over 3,000 kilometres from around Bundaberg to the north of Cape York. It is one of the most visited attractions in Australia and many operators offer excursions to the reef which can be explored by scuba diving, snorkeling, on glass bottomed boats and submarines.
Queensland also has hundreds of coastal islands, with the Whitsunday Islands being the most well known.
The lush and prosperous south east of Queensland is the location of the dynamic capital Brisbane, the extensive Darling Downs agricultural area and the holiday resorts of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
Cost of living
In the William M. Mercer Cost of Living 2004 Survey Brisbane was recognised as one of the most affordable capital cities in Australia to live in, with accommodation costs being lower than those in Sydney and Melbourne and transport, food and entertainment costs being about average for Australian cities.
Brisbane is also ranked as one of the world's most livable cities, thanks largely to its low living costs, ideal climate, high degree of personal safety and vibrant cultural scene.
For more information on Queensland please see the QLD State Government website: http://www.qld.gov.au/ and for Immigration to Queensland please see http://www.workliveplay.qld.gov.au/dsdweb/v4/apps/web/content.cfm?id=3168
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