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Remoteness Structure
 

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Remoteness Structure

The Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure

The purpose of the Remoteness Structure
The design of the Remoteness Structure
Interactive Map Look-up Tools
Change between the 2001 and 2006 editions of the Remoteness Structure
Correspondences and Maps
References



THE AUSTRALIAN STATISTICAL GEOGRAPHY STANDARD (ASGS) REMOTENESS STRUCTURE

Structure files, digital boundaries, maps and a manual detailing the 2011 Remoteness Structure are now available in the following online publication:

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 5 – Remoteness Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

The 2011 Remoteness Structure has been built using the same principles as the 2006 Remoteness Structure. The primary difference is that it was built from ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) regions rather than from 2006 Census Collection Districts (CCD).
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THE AUSTRALIAN STANDARD GEOGRAPHICAL CLASSIFICATION (ASGC) REMOTENESS STRUCTURE

The ASGC Remoteness Structure was one of the seven structures that composed the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC). The ASGC Remoteness Structure was redefined after each Census. It was first defined as part of the 2001 edition of the ASGC and subsequently updated and redefined after the 2006 Census.

The purpose of the Remoteness Structure

The concept of remoteness is an important dimension of policy development in Australia. The provision of many government services are influenced by the typically long distances that people are required to travel outside the major metropolitan areas. The purpose of the Remoteness Structure is to provide a classification for the release of statistics that inform policy development by classifying Australia into large regions that share common characteristics of remoteness.
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The design of the Remoteness Structure

Until the implementation of the remoteness structure there was no mechanism to reflect the concept of remoteness within the ASGC. During the late 1990's a number of Commonwealth Government consultative processes established a need for such a classification. The 1996-97 ABS review of the ASGC considered the issue of remoteness and at the same time the then Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (DH&AC) commissioned research into the development of a geographic measure of remoteness by the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). This research lead to the construction of the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA).

During 2000 the ABS consulted on the design and construction of the Remoteness Structure. Details of this consultation are provided in 1244.0 - Information Paper: ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001 and 1244.0.00.001 - Information Paper: Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia, Jun 2001. The result of the consultation process was the creation of the Remoteness Structure based on an extended version of the original ARIA methodology called ARIA+.

GISCA is now incorporated by the University of Adelaide's Australian Population and Migration Research Centre (APMRC).

ARIA+ is widely used within the Australian community and has become a recognised as a nationally consistent measure of geographic remoteness. The APMRC's ARIA and Accessibility web page provides more information on the subject.

ARIA+ is published as a 1 kilometre grid or matrix that covers the whole of Australia. The ABS calculated the arithmetic mean ARIA+ values for each Census Collection Districts (CCD) that formed the base level of the Remoteness Structure. Each CCD is aggregated to form Remoteness Areas based on the calculations outlined below.

REMOTENESS AREA AND ARIA+ VALUES




CCD Average ARIA+ value rangesRemoteness Area Name




0 to 0.2Major Cities of Australia
greater than 0.2 and less than or equal to 2.4Inner Regional Australia
greater than 2.4 and less than or equal to 5.92Outer Regional Australia
greater than 5.92 and less than or equal to 10.53Remote Australia
greater than 10.53Very Remote Australia
Off-shore, migratory and shipping CCDsMigratory



Remoteness Areas were aggregated to form States/Territories and therefore the full Remoteness Structure was composed of three hierarchical levels comprising in ascending order: Census Collection Districts - Remoteness Areas - State/Territory.

MAP OF AUSTRALIA ILLUSTRATING THE 2006 REMOTENESS STRUCTURE


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Interactive Map Look-up Tools

The Australian Government Department of Health have developed the DoctorConnect website. Among other things it allows you to search by address to find what Remoteness Area you are within using a Google Map interface. This website can be accessed via the following link:

DoctorConnect.gov.au

Please note the Department of Health have coded the Remoteness Areas differently to the ABS coding structure, however the regions and the Remoteness Area names are the same. The ABS coding structure can be accessed via following link:

The Remoteness Structure Table
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Change between the 2001 and 2006 editions of the Remoteness Structure

After the 2006 Census of Population and Housing ARIA+ was recalculated by the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA) based on updated enumerated population data and updated road location data derived from Geoscience Australia.

GISCA is now incorporated by the University of Adelaide's Australian Population and Migration Research Centre (APMRC).

The 2006 edition of ARIA+ was used to recreate the Remoteness Structure using 2006 CCDs as the base spatial unit. Arithmetic mean ARIA+ values were calculated for all 2006 CCDs and these were aggregated using the same methodology that was used to create the 2001 Remoteness Areas.

Change between these boundaries are due to three reasons,
  • change in the spatial distribution of the underlying population due to births, deaths and migration.
  • change in the road network due to the creation of new roads, closure of old roads or better information on the location of existing roads.
  • change to the CCD boundaries i.e. the size and shape of the CCDs, which alters the calculation of the CCD mean values that were used to create Remoteness Areas.
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Correspondences and Maps

The ABS provides 'correspondences' to assist data users who wish to associate data collected using other areas with the 2006 Remoteness Structure. Correspondences mathematically reassign data from one geographic region to another. Previous to 2011, the ABS provided 'Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) correspondences'.

One ABS publication, the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Area Correspondences, 2006 (cat no. 1216.0.15.003), contains eleven separate ASGC correspondence files. These files are comma delimited text (.txt) files that enable users to convert data from one type of 2006 ABS defined or approximated geographic area to the 2006 Remoteness Areas (RAs).

The publication contains the most requested 2006 RA population based correspondences for 2006. The same publication also contains Adobe PDF 2006 RA maps for each State and Territory of Australia. The maps illustrate the RA classifications (except for Migratory) within each State and Territory.

Since July 2011, a new methodology for creating correspondences between regions has been adopted by the ABS. A '2011 Postcode to 2006 Remoteness Area' correspondence was created using the new methodology.

To access the 2011 Postcode to 2006 Remoteness Area' correspondence and to obtain more information on the subject, please view the following web page: Correspondences

Correspondences not available online can be requested by contacting the ABS via email at geography@abs.gov.au
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References

1244.0 - Information Paper: ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001


1244.0.00.001 - Information Paper: Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia, Jun 2001

1259.0.30.004 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Structure (RA) Digital Boundaries, Australia, 2006

1216.0 - Statistical Geography Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Jul 2006

DH&AC, 2001, Measuring Remoteness: Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA), Revised Edition, Occasional Papers: New Series No. 14
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