1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) - Electronic Publication, 2005  
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Contents >> Chapter 8 Remoteness Structure


The final structure listed in the ASGC is the Remoteness Structure (see ASGC Structural Chart). The first edition of the ASGC to include a structure describing Australia in terms of a measurement of Remoteness was ASGC Edition 2001. The Remoteness Structure includes all CDs and therefore, in aggregate, it covers the whole of Australia (as defined in Chapter 1). The purpose of the structure is to classify CDs which share common characteristics of remoteness into broad geographical regions called Remoteness Areas (RAs).

There are six RAs in this structure.

The Remoteness Structure is used for the production of standard ABS statistical outputs from Population Censuses and some ABS surveys.

The Remoteness Structure is maintained as a separate structure in the ASGC because the spatial units (RAs) do not align with those from any of the other structures.


The Remoteness Structure is defined only in census years, commencing with the census year 2001. It contains three hierarchical levels, comprising in ascending order: CDs-RAs-S/Ts.

In this structure, CDs aggregate to RAs and RAs aggregate to S/Ts without gaps or overlaps. Consequently the structure covers all of Australia.


The Remoteness Structure determined for the 2001 Census is listed in the publication Statistical Geography: Volume 1 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001 (cat. no. 1216.0). The listing provides:

    • Remoteness Structure: States/Territories, Remoteness Areas (showing only the top two levels of the hierarchy: S/T-RA)


Diagram: Remoteness Structure


Census Collection District (CD)

For discussion about this spatial unit see Main Structure.

Remoteness Area (RA)

Within a S/T, each RA represents an aggregation of non-contiguous geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness. While statistical data classed to this structure may be available by S/T, characteristics of remoteness are determined in the context of Australia as a whole. Therefore, not all RAs are represented in each S/T. The categories are:
    • Major Cities of Australia: CDs with an average Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) index value of 0 to 0.2

    • Inner Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 0.2 and less than or equal to 2.4

    • Outer Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 2.4 and less than or equal to 5.92

    • Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 5.92 and less than or equal to 10.53

    • Very Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 10.53

    • Migratory: composed of off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs.
Delimitation of Remoteness Areas

The delimitation criteria for RAs are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) developed by the Commonwealth Department of Heath and Aged Care (DHAC) and the National Key Centre For Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre (ASGC 1996) in each of five size classes. For more information on how ARIA is defined see the Information Papers ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001 (cat. no. 1244.0) and Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia (cat. no. 1244.0.00.001). Also refer to Census Geography Paper (cat. no. 03/01), ASGC Remoteness Classification: Purpose and Use, available from the ABS web site.

RA code

RAs are identified by unique one-digit codes within each state/territory. For unique Australia-wide identification, each RA must be used in conjunction with the S/T code.

State/Territory (S/T)

For discussion about this spatial unit see Main Structure.

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