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1216.0.55.001 - Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/08/2007  First Issue
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RESULTS OF THE FIRST ROUND OF CONSULTATION

Consultation sessions were undertaken in all capital cities early in 2007. Several changes have been made as a result of feedback and are summarised below. The issues raised below are still subject to further consultation.



RENAMING OF THE MAIN STRUCTURE OF THE PROPOSAL

Earlier versions of the proposal referred to the Main Structure of the proposal as the Socioeconomic Structure. Feedback was received that this was misleading, as it created the expectation that the units would be created using the socioeconomic characteristics of the populations, rather a reasonably self-contained region where the population interacts economically and socially.



CRITERIA FOR ENDORSED STRUCTURES

The criteria for the Endorsed Structures has been relaxed so that they no longer have to exactly align to mesh blocks. Any misalignment between mesh blocks and an endorsed structure must not be statistically significant.



REDUCTION OF THE LEVELS IN THE MAIN STRUCTURE

There was a proposed SA5 level between the SA4 and state, which separated the major cities with over 250,000 population from the rest of the state. Feedback revealed little support for this level.



ROLE OF GAZETTED LOCALITIES IN REGIONAL AREAS

Gazetted localities will be a consideration in determining the boundaries of SA1s and SA2s in regional areas. In earlier versions of the proposal they were not considered. Feedback was given that this would make coding of addresses to SA2s easier in these areas. In practice, mesh block boundaries closely align with locality boundaries in regional areas.


SA2 boundaries will not track subsequent locality boundary changes, nor will locality boundaries be necessarily followed where they do not reflect the underlying settlement pattern.


Where possible SA1 boundaries will also reflect gazetted localities.



SUPER METROPOLITAN AREAS

Earlier versions of the proposal referred to Super Metropolitan Areas. These were to represent the five one million plus conurbations:

  • Sydney/Wollongong/Central Coast/Newcastle
  • Melbourne/Geelong
  • Brisbane/Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast/Tweed
  • Adelaide
  • Perth

There has been little support for this proposal outside of academic circles. The statistical users most interested in this idea are the various state planning departments, who have their own definitions of such areas and are sophisticated enough to create their own boundaries using elements of the proposed classification.



CAPITAL CITIES

A definition of the state and territory capitals was considered generally useful. The capital cites will be defined in a similar way to the current capital city statistical divisions and be made up of whole SA2s.


A 'Rest of State/Territory' will also be defined for the remainder of each state or territory outside the capital city.



ZERO POPULATION SA1S AND SA2S

Earlier versions of this proposal did not canvass the possibility of creating zero population SA1s and SA2s.


Zero population SA1s may consist of contiguous or a single zero population mesh block, and zero population SA2s contiguous or a single zero population SA1. They may be used to separate out significant areas of unpopulated land. This may include large reserves, commercial and industrial areas in urban areas, national parks or other large areas of unsettled land in regional and remote areas.



BOUNDING RURAL LOCALITIES

Earlier versions of this proposal suggested that the SA1 level would bound small rural towns with a population between 200 and 1,000 in a similar way to CDs. Investigation has shown that this is not practical for the smallest of these towns, because bounding such towns in this way was not a criteria in mesh block design.


This issue impinges directly on the definition of urban centres and localities and is out of scope of this review. This will be the subject of a separate review in 2008.


The ABS will incorporate the gazetted rural localities in SA1 design where possible. SA1s will also be used to contain Indigenous communities and small rural towns wherever practical.



SUGGESTION THAT A LEVEL BETWEEN THE SA1 AND SA2 BE CREATED

A level between the current SA1 and SA2 has been suggested as a useful tool for analysis. This suggestion has not been taken up for the following reasons:

      1. Support for the suggestion appears to be limited.
      2. There would be little ABS data available at the proposed level not already available at the SA1 level.
      3. It would complicate the Main Structure.
      4. It would be difficult to identify an objective basis for defining these units.
      5. Such a unit could be created by users from mesh blocks using their own criteria.


SUGGESTION THAT THE ABS IDENTIFY RURAL LOCATIONS WITH A POPULATION LESS THAN 200

It was suggested that the ABS identify rural locations below the population of 200. This suggestion was not taken up for following reasons:
      1. Support for the suggestion appears to be limited.
      2. The suggestion encroaches on the definition of rural and urban which are out of scope of this review.
      3. Little ABS data beyond population counts would be available for such small units.
      4. It would require a resource intensive exercise to identify these units and redesign mesh blocks to bound them.
      5. It would be difficult to identify an objective basis for defining these units.


SUGGESTION THAT THE ABS TRACK THE GROWTH OF URBAN CENTRES ON AN ANNUAL BASIS

It was suggested that the ABS track the growth of urban centres and update mesh blocks annually to reflect this growth. This suggestion was not taken up for the following reasons:
      1. The suggestion is out of scope of the review for two reasons: mesh block design and maintenance is not within the scope of this review; the suggestion encroaches on the definition of rural and urban which is also out of scope of this review.
      2. Support for the suggestion appears to be limited.
      3. The ABS currently does not have the data to track these changes.
      4. The ABS is currently not able to release data on the changed urban areas.


SUGGESTION THAT A LINK BETWEEN LGAS AND THE MAIN STRUCTURE BE RETAINED

This suggestion was not taken up for the following reasons:
      1. Support for the suggestion appears to be limited.
      2. It would require annual updates of the main structure.
      3. It would require mesh blocks to track LGA changes, undermining their stability as a base unit of the classification.
      4. LGA data will remain available under the proposal.

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