Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory is located wholly within the state of New South Wales. The area of land that makes up the ACT (2,358 square km) was transferred to the Commonwealth by the state of New South Wales in 1911.


Canberra was named the National Capital in 1913 and is located is nearly 300km from Sydney and some 650km from Melbourne.  A planned city, Canberra is laid out around an artificial lake, Lake Burley Griffin. The Territory became self-governing in 1989. National government remains its main industry, but private sector employment has expanded and includes production of sophisticated scientific and communications equipment, and computer software.

Canberra has a population of 358,000 and stands around 1,900 feet (580 meters) above sea level, and highlands in the area reach 5,000 feet (1,500 meters).

Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city and is a modern city with a cosmopolitan feel offering a clean environment, low crime rate and some of Australia’s best roads with hundreds of kilometres of bike paths. The city has many of Australia’s treasures housed in the National Art Gallery, National Museum, the National Library, the National Archives and many more.

The dominant feature, Parliament House, is located on Capital Hill, in the southern part of the city and is the focal point from which all principal avenues radiate. The central area of the city is reserved for official buildings and is divided by Lake Burley Griffin, an artificial lake spanned by two bridges. The main commercial area is north of the lake at Civic Centre where the legislative assembly and administrative offices are located. Shopping centres and commercial complexes have been established among the far-flung residential suburbs that extend along the valley and over the rising ground on its margins, where much of the original tree cover has been preserved. Canberra is close to mountains and native bush land and is often referred to as ‘the bush capital’. Originally a public service town, the national capital is now also a major university and research centre with an emphasis on high technology industries.


Canberra has a mostly dry climate with warm to hot summers and cool winters. Canberra has around nine hours a day of sunshine in summer, dropping to around five hours in winter. January is the hottest month with average maximum temperatures of 28°C. The average annual rainfall is 629 mm with October the wettest month. During winter snow falls in the nearby Australian Alps. Average daily temperatures in the city in winter are around 11°C; dropping below 0°C at night with clear skies and frosts.

Canberra has four distinctive seasons providing a kaleidoscope of colour throughout the year.

In spring, (September 1 - November 30) you can expect some cool mornings, bright, sunny days and brisk nights. Spring is ideal time for bushwalking and cycling around the lakes.

In summer (December 1 – February 28) the days are warm to hot, with plenty of sunshine and low humidity, followed by cooler nights.

In autumn (March 1 – May 31) you will experience cool nights and mild days as the city plunges into hues of red, gold, russet, ochre and crimson.

In winter (June 1 – August 31 the nights and early mornings are brisk, but frosts and occasional fog generally clear to striking sunny days, so you can still can enjoy bike riding and walks by the lake on the cool fresh days.


Over 120 public and independent primary and secondary schools offer high quality learning environments and first class facilities, and more schools are on the way. Early childhood education and care in Canberra is also a growing industry with a range of employment opportunities available for suitably qualified people.

Known as the ‘clever capital’, Canberra is considered an increasingly attractive destination for domestic and international students and is the home to a range of highly regarded tertiary institutions and education providers. Opportunities for teaching, corporate and administrative staff are ongoing.


House prices increased by 1.7 per cent in Canberra during 2014 and has the third highest mean price for houses at $570,600 behind Western Australia with $596,900 and NSW with $702,500. 

Over 12,000 people are employed within the building and construction industry. In recent years Canberra’s residential and commercial sectors have thrived with significant spending on new infrastructure projects and construction works along with increasing land release for residential and industrial use.

Transport links

Canberra Airport is located 7 km east of the city centre. There are no direct flights to international destinations, but there are direct connections to Sydney (281 kilometres) (Melbourne (660 kilometres), Brisbane (958 kilometres) and Adelaide (971 kilometres).

Whether you are catching a bus, riding a bike or walking, it is simple to get around Canberra, with less traffic than big cities and almost no traffic jams.

Employment opportunities

Canberra is home to the Australian Public Service (APS) and is the biggest employer with over 20,000 people employed across a wide range of jobs. It is important to note, however, that employment with the APS will usually require Australian citizenship particularly where security clearance is required.

Defence and security are among Canberra’s largest industry sectors and over 13,000 military and defence-civilian personnel are located in the capital region. The Department of Defence is based in Canberra along with the Royal Military College and Australian Defence Force Academy.

Tourism is the largest private sector segment of the ACT economy and with 7,000 tourism related businesses offers great employment opportunities on a casual, part-time and full-time basis.

Canberra’s ICT sector employs around 8,000 people and is made up of over 1,000 businesses ranging from multinationals down to micro businesses. Many ICT jobs will require Australian citizenship if employment is related to the APS.

As well as opportunities in the Australian and ACT Governments, Canberra has a thriving private sector with over 25,000 businesses servicing the region with employment opportunities in the arts, entertainment, sports and recreation industries, and their associated services.

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New age limit for Skilled applicants

General Skilled Migration applicants must be under 45 years of age


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