Australia flag Australia: Business Environment

Business Practices in Australia

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
Website about business in Australia
Commisceo Global, Australian business culture as per Commisceo Global
Opening Hours and Days
Saturdays and Sundays are closed for companies and administrations. Shops are open all week.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
Australia Day 26 January
Good Friday The Friday before Easter
Easter Saturday The Saturday before Easter
Easter Monday The Monday after Easter
Anzac Day 25 April
Queen's Birthday The second Monday of June (except for the State of Western Australia)
Bank Holiday The first Monday of August
Labour Day The first Monday of October, the first or second Monday of March according to the State.
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December
Holiday Compensation
If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is up to the State to decide if the holiday is substituted for a weekday.

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Companies do not close for holiday periods but only for public holidays.

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Australian business culture is collaborative, reflecting an egalitarian approach to life. Australians value strong work ethic and the principles of courtesy, formal relations, mutual confidence and respect are highly appreciated. Australia is also one of the very few cultures in which humour is all pervasive in business situations.

Australia’s focus on egalitarianism and individuality strongly influences corporate structure and hierarchy. Organisations tend to be fairly non-hierarchical and if senior management usually makes the final decision, an inclusive and collaborative approach is encouraged.

Australians tend to be very straightforward and direct when it comes to business and long-standing relationships are not necessary to start doing business. However, as Australia is known as the country of networking and clubs, it may be useful to set up a network of business acquaintances. Professional life is often not very strictly separated from private life. Taking the time to exchange pleasantries and ask about your partner’s previous evening or weekend will help you building trust and establish a good relation. There is no set tradition for business entertaining in Australia; thus you are more likely to be asked out for lunch or dinner once a firm relationship has been established.

First Contact
Australia is known as the country of networking and clubs. Thus an introduction by an established representative may be helpful in establishing a relationship with an Australian counterpart. Appointments must be made at least two weeks ahead of time and are relatively easy to schedule. They must be confirmed by calling a couple of days beforehand, and it is recommended to send a brief agenda by email to outline the objectives for the meeting.
It is recommended to avoid the first two weeks of January and the last two weeks of December, which are periods when people often take their holidays. YouTube, Blogspot, LinkedIn and Twitter are very popular communication tools.
Time Management
Despite the country’s reputation for its laid-back lifestyle, all aspects of time management are taken seriously in corporate Australia. Punctuality is very important and deadlines are set and adhered to quite stringently. Before the meeting, an agenda is sent to the participants. Achieving the objectives pursued is essential. Late submissions or tardy project deliverables will be deemed as a lack of professionalism.
Greetings and Titles
You should give a firm, friendly handshake with a warm smile, and respect personal space when talking to someone. When meeting an Australian partner for the first time, it is advised to use the courtesy titles “Mrs” or “Mr” followed by the name. Australians usually quickly use first names, but you should wait to be invited to do so. Academic or job-related titles are downplayed.
Gift Policy
In a business context, exchanging gifts is quite rare in Australia and is limited to major occasions.
Dress Code
The Australian business dress code depends on the industry, with banking and finance being the most conservative. In Brisbane or other tropical areas, depending on the job function and company culture, men may wear shirts, ties and Bermuda shorts. For initial meetings, it is advised to adopt discreet and stylish, rather conservative dress and to adapt it according to the appointment and the type of industry. Men should wear classic dark suits while women should wear plain suits.
Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged at the first meeting, without any particular formality. A translation in English on the back of the card is an advantage.
Meetings Management
Australians usually get down to business quickly with a minimum amount of small talk. Indeed, time and efficiency are of the utmost importance when conducting business meetings.

Australians generally appreciate brevity and are not impressed by too much detail. Your presentation should be straight-forward and open, and backed with facts and figures. Any exaggerated claims should be avoided. During the negotiation process, it is imperative to avoid confrontations or pressure tactics or to come with preconceived ideas or ready-to-use solutions. Australians favour a win-win negotiating style so proposals should be presented with acceptable terms.

Australians usually appreciate a good sense of humour, and are direct communicators who are not afraid of saying no. You should not hesitate to debate and defend your point of view. In general, a very precise written contract will make the agreement official.

Business lunches or dinners generally occur when the relation is already established. The person who makes the invitation generally pays the bill, but the bill may also be split equally amongst those present at the meal.

Sources for Further Information
Autralian business culture (Cultural Atlas)

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Latest Update: March 2024

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