1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/12/2010  First Issue
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Contents >> ASGS Maintenance >> ASGS Maintenance


A new edition of the ASGS Manual will be published in late 2015 or early 2016 with a date of effect from 1 July 2016. That version of the ASGS will be used for the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. All levels and regions of the ASGS will be reviewed before the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. This chapter summarises the terms of the review and an approximate time frame.


Between Population Censuses, the Mesh Blocks will be maintained, to reflect:

  • new development
  • changes in land use
  • alignment to physical features
  • alignment to administrative boundaries.

Where possible, changes will be accommodated by simple splits of existing Mesh Blocks.

A draft set of revised Mesh Block boundaries will be published before the 2016 Census, for stakeholder comment.


The ABS will publish the ABS Structures at each Census. Between Population Censuses, the ABS will consult with stakeholders on their conceptual basis and usefulness.

Main Structure and GCCSA

A draft revised set of Main Structure boundaries will be published, before the 2016 Census, for stakeholder comment. The revised boundaries will be available in late 2015 or early 2016 with a date of effect of the 1 July 2016.

The following principles will be applied to any redesign of the Main Structure and GCCSAs:
  • the boundaries for a region will not be changed unless they no longer meet the design criteria for that class of region
  • where possible, changes will be accommodated by simple splits of existing regions
  • where it is not possible for changes to be accommodated by a simple split they will, as far as possible, be based on amalgamation and redistribution of whole regions from the next level down in the hierarchy
  • regions will be designed with a view to them remaining stable over a period of 10 to 20 years
  • minor boundary alignment changes will be made to improve the alignment to the underlying physical geography.

SAs 1-4 will not necessarily be changed to reflect changes in administrative boundaries.

Other ABS Structures

The conceptual basis of Indigenous Structure, Remoteness Areas, Urban Centres and Localities/Section of State and Significant Urban Areas will be reviewed prior to the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

The revised Indigenous Structure digital boundaries, codes and labels will be published prior to the release of data from the 2016 Population of Census and Housing.


Non-ABS Structures will be reviewed annually to accommodate any hierarchy or boundary changes. The ABS will publish supporting documentation, tables and correspondences between the Non-ABS Structure and relevant regions of the ASGS.

Generally, the revised structure will come into effect on 1 July each year. This may be brought forward for boundaries with critical stakeholder needs.


New ABS and Non-ABS Structures can be added to the ASGS at any time provided they meet the following criteria:
  • they satisfy the classification principles listed on page 6
  • they can be built up from, or reasonably approximated by Mesh Blocks
  • they are generally accepted and will be used by key stakeholders
  • the ABS is prepared to publish data for the proposed regions.

The process for introducing a new structure into the ASGS is:
  • the ABS accepts a stakeholder case to include a new structure
  • a period of initial consultation with key stakeholders to determine the acceptability, feasibility and usefulness of the proposed structure
  • if there is sufficient consensus, the ABS will publish one or more information papers; which may call for written submissions from all stakeholders
  • if the structure is accepted, the ABS will develop the new structure, with additional consultation if relevant
  • when the design is complete, the ABS will publish the new structure with: a date of effect, digital boundaries (for ABS Structures), supporting documentation and correspondences.

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