1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, Dec 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/12/2008   
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The ABS released the Information Paper: Outcome from The Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2008 (cat no 1216.0.55.002) on 25 July 2008. The paper explains that the current ASGC will be replaced in July 2011 with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

The diagram below summarises the overall structure of the ASGS.

Diagram: ASGS Structure

The ASGS brings all the spatial regions used by the ABS to output data under the one umbrella. They are separated into two broad categories: ABS structures, those which are defined and maintained by the ABS, and non-ABS structures, those defined and maintained by other organisations, but for which the ABS supplies data.

The regions of the ASGS, their codes and labels will be designed over the next two years. The first will be the SA2s, as these have emerged as the key level in the ABS Main Structure. The SA2s are the level for which the majority of ABS sub-state intercensal data will be available. They will have a minimum population of 3,000 and a maximum of 25,000, comparable in size to the current Statistical Local Area.

SA2 design has begun. A set of first cut boundaries is being developed with the State Planning Authorities in each state which will form the basis for wider consultation. The consultation period will be at least 3 months for each state and there is scope for significant revisions. SA2 design for each state should be finalised by early 2009.

SA1s are the smallest areas for which a wide range of Population Census data will be released. They will have a population of about 400 people, comparable in size to the current Census Collection District. The first cut SA1 boundaries will be developed within the ABS for most states. These will also be released for 3 months stakeholder comment before they are finalised in late 2009.

SA3s and SA4s will be the last regions of the Main Structure developed. This will occur in the first half of 2010. The consultation for these levels will be shorter and more targeted. SA4s will be used for the release of Labour Force Statistics and are expected to have a population of approximately the same size as the current Labour Force Regions. SA3s are a medium sized unit with a more variable population from 30,000 to 130,000.

Urban Centres and Localities (Section of State) and Remoteness structures require data from the 2011 Census to be defined. The ABS intends to generate UCL boundaries on a basis similar to what has been done in the past. The move to mesh blocks will create some differences as they allow a more precise definition of the urban rural boundary.

The non-ABS structures will be developed up to and beyond the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Apart from the Indigenous geography, which will be more integrated into the ABS structures, other non-ABS geographies will be approximated using mesh blocks close to the date of the Census.

Stakeholders interested in being consulted over the design, or anyone who has any questions about the new Geography should email geography@abs.gov.au.