I don't know what is and what isn't available in Oz at reasonable prices, that's research you'll probably have to do at Oz specific sites.
You're not equipping a commercial kitchen and you don't need or even necessarily want commercial cookware. It won't make you a better cook. If you want commercial cookware because it's your style -- find some restaurant supply stores in Oz. I can tell you where to go in Culver City and Monterey Park, but not Sydney. You also want to look for mid to high-end consumer grade cookware in the usual sources, like department stores.
Vollrath is great. Don't waste your money shipping it to Oz. Don't as in don't. Not as in maybe. Just don't. You might want to take a look at Cuisinart cookware -- I think it's available globally.
What works for most people in terms of low-sided pans is a core group of reasonable quality of multi-ply skillets and/or straight-sided frying pans with stainless steel linings, as well as a few specialty skillets. The even heating and warp prevention you get from multi-ply is not as important with higher sided sauce pans which are used primarily for heating liquids -- a solid aluminum disk which reaches to the edge under a stainless body is all you need. On the other other hand (we're up to the third hand), if you use your higher-sided pans for browning -- as with braising for instance -- you want something more substantial.
Your specialty choices depend on your needs. There are a lot of possibilities, cast iron, enamel over cast iron, carbon steel, ceramic non-stick, etc. Horses for courses. Personally, I don't care for non-stick and prefer seasoned carbon steel for most non-stick purposes.
"Even heating" is a tricky concept. It's partly dependent on materials, partly on mass, and partly on pre-heating. Appropriate pre-heating covers a multitude of sins. Heat the pan before putting oil in it. Heat it some more to temp the oil and allow the oil to even out the hot and cold spots in the pan. Then and only then add the food.
"Temperature stability" is mostly mass, and partly materials. Heavy cast-iron is best... but what is it best for? Mostly things which involve putting large amounts of food into hot oil, when it's important to keep the oil temp as stable as possible. E.g., pan-fried chicken.
"Responsivenes" is the flip side of even heating and temp stability. Everything else being equal the lighter the pan the more responsive it will be, but materials are very important too because you want the pan too change temps as a whole.
Most of my stove-top cookware is the most expensive stainless lined copper money can buy -- Mauviel M'Heritage 250. Very beautiful, but it doesn't work any better than the old Calphalon Pro (anodized aluminum) it replaced; at least not as a practical matter. The same is true about our Le Creuset and Staub braisers, etc., etc. More beautiful, more expensive and more better... yet I'm the same cook I always was.
Mid-level cookware is all you need. Better is better, but it won't make your food taste much if any better. It won't make you a better cook either. Last longer, look better, more comfortable in the hand, clean better, yes. Worth it? Depends.
In terms of skillets, saute-pans, "chicken fryers," etc., we've got at least three of each carbon steel, cast iron, and copper/stainless. Horses for courses.
Before spending money, try to nail it down a little in terms of what you can store, what you can afford, and what you want to cook.
The easiest, most efficient, and most cost-effective purchase for someone equipping a first kitchen from (more or less) scratch is probably a set of multi-ply with something like three frying/saute pans, three sauce pans, a small stock pot, and lids. Add a non-stick or carbon steel pan for omelettes, a "spaghetti set," and Voila!
Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/22/12 at 10:22am