Getting started

Information on Australian business culture, our competitive taxes and incentives, and living in Australia.

Are you an investor or buyer considering Australia to invest, expand or start your business venture? Austrade can help you navigate the Australian business environment and kick start your Australian venture.

We can connect you to opportunities in Australia, provide local market intelligence and introduce you to relevant authorities for detailed tax, visa, and foreign investment advice.

Investor Guide

This guide can help international investors and businesses explore opportunities to investing and operating in Australia.

Understanding business in Australia

Australian business culture is open and friendly. We are honest and fair, with a clear and direct communication style.  We have few formalities and are not overly hierarchical. We may have a laid-back reputation, but we are hard-working people. Our government strongly supports business and industry.

Australia offers competitive taxes and incentives

Australia has the 11th most competitive taxes in the world, according to the Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index 2022. Our tax revenue represents 29% of our gross domestic product, compared to 34% across OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2023).

And we offer a range of deductions and incentives that lower effective tax rates. These include:

Research and development (R&D) tax incentive

Australia provides generous incentives to encourage valuable R&D activities. Australia’s R&D Tax Incentive delivers almost A$3 billion a year to eligible companies.

For eligible R&D conducted from 1 July 2021, the tax offset is equal to your corporate tax rate plus an additional premium rate of up to 18.5%. For all claims, the R&D expenditure threshold is A$150 million per annum.

Additional tax levers

Eligible businesses can access additional tax concessions, offsets and rebates, potentially lowering effective rates further.

  • We offer a range of schemes to attract international investment into Australian firms, including bilateral tax treaties that reduce withholding tax.
  • Companies investing in their future through capital expenditure can benefit from generous depreciation rules.
  • Small and medium-sized companies – ‘base rate entities’ with aggregate turnover up to A$50 million (including their connected entities) – pay a base corporate tax rate of 25%, instead of 30%.
  • We only tax corporate profits once. Through our system of dividend imputation, Australian resident companies and shareholders receive a ‘franking credit’ for the tax the company has paid. This franking credit is then used to reduce overall tax liability.
  • The Australian Government also offers tax concessions to encourage venture capital investment in Australia. The Venture Capital Limited Partnership (VCLP) and Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP) programs provide beneficial tax treatment to eligible local and foreign investors.

The Australian Government provides a searchable database of grants, funding and support programs for business in Australia.

A great place to live

Australia’s lifestyle and vibrant cities are global drawcards. We have 4 of the top 15 most livable cities in the world according to the EIU Global Liveability Index for 2023. They are safe, beautiful and well-managed.

They are also affordable. Australia’s capitals have a lower cost of living than neighbouring global cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou (Mercer, Cost of Living City Ranking 2023). This makes Australia a cost-competitive destination for international companies that want to relocate employees and their families.

Excellent healthcare

  • We have high-quality, timely and affordable health care at every stage of life.
  • Medicare is Australia's universal health care system. It provides free public hospital care and patient subsidies for medical services. Our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme keeps medicines affordable.

High-quality education

  • Australian schools are among the world’s best. Our public schools provide free high-quality education to all students. We also have a variety of non-government and faith-based schools.
  • Students in Australia have university-trained teachers and excellent school facilities. Every child gets the support they need. This includes programs for gifted and talented students and programs for students who need extra support.
  • Australia ranks second best for education in the OECD, according to the 2022 OECD Better Life Index.
  • Australia’s higher education sector has world-class universities. We rank fourth globally for the number of universities in the world’s top 100, with six outstanding institutions (2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities). We’re a preferred destination for international students.

We support families at all stages

  • Australia is the ideal place to raise a family. The Paid Parental Leave scheme supports parents to take time out of the workforce. The Child Care Subsidy helps parents with the costs of child care. This supports workforce participation and children’s early learning and development.