Austria used to depend on Germany as its main trading partner (the two have so much history), thus making the earlier vulnerable to the economic changes of the latter. But since Austria joined the European Union in 1995, it started to draw a massive influx of foreign investors and rose to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
But now that United Kingdom left the trading bloc in a historic move known as Brexit, the whole of Europe is a against the challenges of uncertainty and challenges again and its up to Austria to tide it.
Today, we compare EU’s fourth richest nation with the Land Down Under.
Austria is the fourth wealthiest country in the European Union, and the 14 largest economy in the world. Its main industries and largest employers are construction, vehicles and parts, machinery, metals, food, chemicals, paper and paperboard, lumber and wood processing, tourism, communications, and equipment. It enjoys a very low 4.4% unemployment rate.
At 1,629 hours annually (or 31 hours every week), it has one of the lowest working hours in the world. It also helps that, like in Australia, there is a standard eight-hour working period each day, five days a week. Working hour starts here much earlier, usually at 7am, with the blue and white-collard ones at 8am. Each employee is entitled for 25 paid holidays, plus sick leaves.
By comparison, Australia is the 12 largest economy by nominal GDP, and one of the largest mixed market economies in the world. The country’s main industries include mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, steel, and tourism. Currently, unemployment rate is at 5.7%.
At 1,664 hours a year (32 hours a week), the average working time is higher than in Austria. This is not uniform, though, as working hours will depend on your occupation, type of industry, position, or employer. Standard working day for a blue-collar worker is from 7am or 8am to 3:30 or 4:30pm, while working hours in many offices and shops are from 8:30am or 9:30am until 4:30 or 5:30pm, with an hour’s break for lunch.
Health care in Austria is comprised of the public and private system. All individuals are receiving publicly funded care, though purchasing a supplementary private health insurance is also an option.
As a migrant in Austria, you are obligated to pay into a health insurance scheme, which then proceeds into a larger social security system. The system encompasses the contributor and their family as well for health, accident or pension insurance. The amount an individual has to settle is determined by the salary level.
As with many other state-funded healthcare systems, patients can only seek treatment from medical professionals recognized by the social insurance fund; doctors are approved by the insurance will display a sign stating ‘Alle Kassen’ or ‘Kassenarzt’.
Like Austria, Australia’s health care is also two-tiered, the private health system and the Medicare for the public system. It is funded partly by a 2% Medicare levy (with exceptions for low-income earners), with the rest being supplied by government. An additional levy of 1% is imposed on high-income earners without private health insurance.
Medicare, the Australian government’s universal public health insurance scheme, provides residents free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital and free or subsidized treatment for optometrist, dental care, and psychology services as well as treatment by doctors.
Check here how the Australian Public Health Care System Works.
Austrian cuisine is heavily formed by Hungarian, Germam, Italian, Bohemian, and Balkan influences. Popular meats used here include Austria are beef, pork, chicken, turkey and goose.
Famous dishes include the prominent Wiener Schnitzel (boneless thinned meat fried with a coating of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs), gulasch (a hotpot often eaten with rolls, bread, or dumplings), liptauer (spicy cheese spread, eaten on a slice of bread), palatschinken (pancakes filled with jam, sprinkled with sugar etc.), and beuschel (a ragout containing lungs and heart).
When dining out, tipping is usually included in the bill, typically 10% to 15% of the bill. Like Australians, topics about work or business in being avoided, unless brought up by the host.
Australian cuisine is a hybrid native aboriginal ingenuity and British colonial influences, with mix of Asian and Mediterranean traditions contributed by wave after wave of post-colonial migrations that helped shaped their cuisine. They usually take advantage of meat available in the continent, such as lamb, kangaroo, and emu, as well as pork, beef, and chickens. Australia’s cuisine is exciting at it is unique. For some of its most amazing dishes, check it here.
Dining culture is very much western. You are expected to make reservations first and confirm in formal restaurants. In informal dives, you might be expected to share a table. Be open to conversations when invited. Tipping is not required, but optional.
Types of houses vary in Austria, from old buildings to brand new flats. Prices differ depending on location, size, quality, and area of the city. Expectedly, the houses outside the city are cheaper. Though you may have to use public transport to reach the city centers or your workplace.
Finding for a place to rent is relatively easy here, with the ads posted on both newspapers and the internet. Standard rental contracts are signed for a period of three years. You are legally well protected once you have your apartment and your landlord will not be able to easily evict you out.
The government works hard to increase house-ownership in Australia. Only 33% of residents here lives in a fully owned properties, 31.4% rents their home, while 35%of homes are mortgaged.
Suburban fringes of cities and towns sports the inner-city medium to high-rise apartments and the low-density townhouses/fully detached houses, while Melbourne and Sydney cradles the inner-city public housing is generally found in They are usually 3-5 story walk-up flats and 11-22 story high-rise towers. Low-density suburban estates is located in almost every city and town in the country.
For a detailed yet simple to follow guide on how to find a place to rent in Australia, check it here.
Public and Private Transport
Train services (also known as Metro) are concentrated in Vienna only. It runs all night on Friday and Saturday nights. From Sunday night to Thursday night it stops at midnight or sometimes 30 minutes past that. However, buses function in most cities with a few night buses to supplement it during evening. Tram and bus services in most places run from about 5am to 11pm or midnight. There are also taxis everywhere. You can get one by calling them in advance or flagging down. Drivers typically expect a 10% tip.
A one way train ticket here costs AU$3.30, while a monthly pass is at around AU$68.06. Starting taxi tariff is AU$5.93 with AU$2.13 for the first one kilometer. A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) will set you back AU$33,015.77. Gasoline is at AU$1.70 for every litter.
Despite the very good public transport system, driving is the most used mode of transport in the country, and this number continues to rise. It is followed by train, walking (the country has a very good culture of walking), and then bus. All of Australian cities have reliable, affordable public bus networks and train lines, plus taxis operate nationwide. These train lines include commuter rail networks, trams, light rails, and rapid transits.
A one-way ticket sets you back by AU$4.00, while going for a monthly pass will increase it by AU$130.00. Taxi tariff is AU$4.00, while a kilometer ride is AU$2.17. If you want your own car, A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or any equivalent new car) will cost you AU$25,000.00 plus AU$1.31 for every litter of gasoline.
Weather and Climate
A moderate climate and four fairly distinct seasons marks the weather in Austria. The seasons might be similar throughout Austria, but the Alps divide the country into three weather regions that have unique characteristics.
Northern and Eastern Austria, including the cities of Vienna, Salzburg and Linz, are lowland regions north of the Alps tends to be milder, and thus produces the ideal conditions for vineyards. The Alpine region of Western Austria presents longer, colder winters with more snow. Temperatures can differ significantly depending on the altitude. The third weather zone is south of the Alps, and includes the cities of Graz and Klagenfurt. It is influenced by warmer Mediterranean temperatures,
Due to its massive size, climate varies vastly in Australia to a wide degree. This is reflected on the snow-capped mountains in the south and arid deserts in the interior. Majority of the country leans more towards the temperate, tropical rainforest climate. Australians get plenty of sun and warmth most of the year but with huge drops in temperature during winter.
The weather widely differs with every city. To find out more about the climate in each of them, check it here.
Benefits of Citizenship
Advantages of an Austrian citizenship include:
- Work and do business in any country of the European Union
- Live in any country of the EU
- Eligibility to get education in the countries of the European Union
- Eligibility to buy property EU member countries
- Access to a whole range of social services – health insurance, benefits and pension
- Travel anywhere within the European Union visa-free
Advantages of Australian Citizenship include:
- Being able to work for the federal government
- Children will be Australian citizens
- The right to vote
- Being able to run for public office
- Avoid deportation
- Entitlement for Australian passport
- Access to consular help
- Eligibility for the deferral of education fees
- Full residence rights in New Zealand
- Being able to adopt
- Being able to represent Australia in international sporting events
For a more detailed information about these benefits, check our blog here.
If anything, the high living standard is one thing the two nations shares in common. Robust economy, efficient health care, and well-designed transportation system are something you will get whichever country you go for. The difference, however, is purely cultural, and a matter preference.
Austria’s façade, from the architectures, to the way of life, to food, has all the makings of Central Europe. This is characterized my major influences of Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland. Australia is highlighted by Brick Gothic, Rococo, and modern art. It is majorly a Catholic country, whose empowerment of Human Rights is one of its greatest achievements. For those who are used to of looking to experience a Central European way of life, Austria is the place to go.
However, language barrier is major challenge here. Not to mention, Austrians are quite a private people, and would not open themselves on a personal basis right away to other people. Building a close personal relationship with them might take time.
On the other hand, Australia, despite its close history with Great Britain, shares more similarity with the United States. Here, English is the mother tongue, the people are friendly and open for conversations, and enjoys a more outdoor way of life. Major influences are a combination or native global contributions, as the country is built by waves of migration coming as far as United Kingdom, Asia, and Americas.
As always, the climate and weather are the major challenges here. Australia has a more temperate temperature than Austria. Also, the weather conditions are quite unpredictable, and therefore will affect the way of life in day to day basis.