Comment: æDown UnderÆ works

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Following MEI's December Australia theme, Mickey Charles, president and CEO of real–time sports wire service The Sports Network (TSN), based in Philadelphia, US, takes a look at reasons to live and work in Australia.

"Koalas, kangaroos, snakes, sharks, crocodiles, spiders, the platypus, possums, wombats, dingoes, Tasmanian devil...oh my!!Australia is likely the largest zoo on the planet surpassed, possibly, by only Africa. But your proximity to the wonderment of nature is able to be made on an individual basis and by choice...in the midst of it, nearby or removed from it all with visitation rights as part and parcel of being a native, resident or relocated part of the populace. No, it is not necessary to have Aboriginal ancestry and I doubt that it would help if you did when it comes to relocating, unless you have native tendencies and someone you know arrived in Australia from Southeast Asia during the last Ice Age, at least 50, 000 years ago. For the record, they were, as far as anyone can tell, scattered In 300 clans and spoke 250 languages plus 700 dialects. One million of them lived Down Under as hunters and gatherers, travelled widely to trade, find water and seasonal produce for ritual and totemic gatherings. Add to that a culture founded on its Aboriginal heritage, vibrant mix of cultures from Europe and elsewhere, necessitous innovation to survive, great ideas along the way and a thriving arts scene and you have a heck of a basis for a great place to live. Australia, I might add, is the sixth largest country in the world, about the same size of 48 of the mainland States of the US and 50% larger than Europe. But, it has the lowest population density on the planet, and with good reason...only two people per square kilometre. Yup, remember all those creatures of assorted sizes that were there first and keep populating at a rate not controlled by any governmental or natural authority other than the law of survival. Now, to the good news. Lots of it...50, 000 kilometres of coastline linked by 10, 000 beaches, more than any other country. Speaking of 'more', more than 85% of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast, making it an integral part of their laid back lifestyle. Also, it explains their competitive spirit and talent at the summer Olympics for all those events taking place in the pool and off the diving boards. If surfing becomes an Olympic sport the rest of the entrants are in deep you know what. On to relocating. The standard was set starting in 1945. Right after the Second World War...after that more than 6m people from across the globe have come to Australia to live and, not so surprisingly...the beaches and waves aside... many of them go to work every day to grow the country and its society, its commercial standing among the other countries in the world. Consequently, more than 20% of the population, are foreign–born with more than 40% of a mixed cultural origin. Hang on to your hat and tongue when it comes to communicating down there...where they speak about 226 languages. After English, with a sigh of relief, the most popular are Italian, Greek, Cantonese and Arabic. That also makes for a plethora of intriguing, diverse and tantalizing fare at local restaurants. One would have to gather that most of us are interested in sports, somewhat fanatic about our favourite teams and inclined to invest a Euro, pound, quid or two on the outcome of an event... Actually, a host of events. That said, Australians are sports mad!If sports are any part of your business, from wagering to retail sales of attire, they have more than 120 national and thousands of local, regional and state sporting organizations. It has been estimated that 6. 5m people in Australia are registered sport participants. Kind of impressive with a total population of just over 21m. Need we add that the number one watched sport in Victoria is Australian Rules Football (AFL)? Others love the sheer brute force of the competition of the National Rugby League (NRL). The NRL dominates in New South Wales and Queensland. Rugby, swimming, cricket, tennis, surfing, golf, sailing, horse racing, Formula One are other sports popular in Australia...the list just goes on and on. Sports, the arts, expanding business opportunities, great people with cordiality and welcomes exuding towards new members of the Australian society, accommodative weather conditions and an absence of the penal colonies created there by the British...with some 160, 000 plus men and women coming to Australia in the 17th century as alleged convicts, the same people that helped found much of what is Australia today. Australia, unlike recent places addressed by this writer, beckons. It is romantic, kangaroos are bounding about, there is sand that appears to be gold on the beaches, the vast uninhabited Outback, folks wrestling crocodiles for fun, green hills, thick rain forests, historic areas, those thousands of beaches, unique animals and plants, sophisticated and worldly cities...and a great deal more. Still sounds like a great place to visit. True, but it is also a great place to live, work and play. Whilst the vast majority of this country is the often harsh Outback, people enjoy life there thanks to the Great Artesian Basin that comprises about one–fifth of the country's land mass stretching over much of inland New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Do not forget the Great Barrier Reef, if you have your diving or scuba gear...stretching out over 1, 240 miles. Yes, you can visit or enjoy it as resident. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Queensland, Adelaide, Perth and Western Australia, Tasmania ... you choose. It is not up to me to recommend. What is your business...technical, gaming, outerwear, financial, industrial, import/export? You will definitely require someone 'on the ground' there – someone with whom you are familiar...or become familiar ... a person you can trust implicitly, an attorney and the development of contacts soon to be friends (even if somewhat competitive) within the same industry as yourself. There are few barriers to entry and the appeal of Australia will be compelling once you have visited. The truth be known, this is an excellent time for companies, particularly British and American, to consider relocating or opening satellite operations here.... they are primed and receptive to innovative products and technologies. The promise of success and profit is certainly in the air in Australia. Yes, the current global financial crisis affects them as well but you must use that to your advantage and look to the future. Many suffer during times like these but, sadly and unfortunately...or fortunately, others benefit. It is the nature of the financial sector. This is a sophisticated and modern economy, healthy and ready to embrace. In addition to what one might be able to do globally Australia is the commercial and financial centre for the region with brilliant access to the Asian market, among other things. Is there any other place (maybe India) with such low cost production than China? Check out the market, find a local 'partner' and give him, or her, ongoing support in the process of establishing yourself. Plan carefully and think long term . . . provide something unique, evaluate competition, network wherever and however you can and do not wing it...be prepared!Establish an internet presence so go get a domain name with 'com. au. ' Bear in mind that 60% of homes in Australia have internet access and more than 540, 000 businesses there use the internet. Message received? Bottom line for Down Under? Whether relocating or setting up an expansion of your efforts, whatever they may be or necessitate, Australia has to be at the top of the list. It may be Down Under but it is at the Top of the List. And you'll learn to say 'G'day mate!You're an Ace!'"For further information about The Sports Network, visit: www. sportsnetwork. com. The Sports Network2200 Byberry RdHatboro, PA 19040 Tel: +1 (215) 441–8444 Fax: +1 (215) 441–5767

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