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DEFINING REMOTENESS AREAS
The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) defines Remoteness Areas into 5 classes of relative remoteness across Australia. These 5 classes of remoteness are:
The five classes of remoteness are determined using a process that provides a consistent definition across Australia and over time. This allows statistical data to be classified in a consistent way that allows users to analyse changes in data for different remoteness categories over time.
Relative remoteness is measured in an objective way using the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), which is developed by the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research at the University of Adelaide. ARIA+ is derived by measuring the road distance from a point to the nearest Urban Centres and Localities in five separate population ranges. For more information on how ARIA+ is created see the University of Adelaide website at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/hugo-centre/spatial data/aria/
The University of Adelaide supplies ARIA+ to the ABS as a one kilometre grid which covers all of geographic Australia. Each grid point contains a value representing its relative remoteness, this value is derived using the methodology described in the link above.
The ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) boundaries are overlayed onto the ARIA+ grid and an average score is calculated based upon the grid points that are contained within each SA1. The resulting average score determines which remoteness category is allocated to each SA1, these categories are shown in Table 1 below. This means that Remoteness Areas aggregate to States or Territories and cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.
Table 1: 2016 Remoteness Area Category Names for Australia and SA1 Average ARIA+ Value
Further criteria are used by the ABS to refine Remoteness Areas. These criteria are applied to remove anomalies that the index may produce and are consistent with the methodology that was applied in the delimitation of the 2006 and 2011 Remoteness Structure. These criteria are:
Note that the above rules do not apply to coastal SA1s, where all neighbouring SA1s are classed as a different remoteness category. This is because the coastal SA1s are not considered to be completely surrounded.
The Urban Centres and Localities referenced in the above criteria are defined according to the ABS publication Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, July 2016 (cat no. 1270.0.55.004) released in October 2017.
Table 2: Counts of 2016 Remoteness Areas by State and Territory
(a) Other Territories (OT) include the Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.
(b) Includes records for Migratory - Offshore - Shipping and No usual address for each State and Territory.
A Remoteness Area is identifiable by a 2 digit hierarchical code. This comprises a State or Territory identifier and a Remoteness Area identifier code. A Remoteness Area identifier is only unique if it is preceded by the State or Territory identifier.
As an example the Remoteness Area naming and coding structure for New South Wales (NSW) is illustrated below in Table 3.
Table 3: Remoteness Area naming and coding structure for NSW
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