1376.0 - Local Government and ABS, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/01/2013  Final
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Image: ABS Geography and Local Government Areas ABS GEOGRAPHY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS

Glossary of Statistical Geography Terminology (New - Dec 2013)
ABS statistical geography (Updated - Aug 2013)
Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure (New - Feb 2013)
Transforming data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard
Australian Statistical Geography Standard implementation schedule
Further information


The ABS released the Glossary of Statistical Geography Terminology, 2013 (cat. no. 1217.0.55.001) on 29 October, 2013. This release updates the 2011 edition and contains brief explanations and definitions of various geographical terms and classifications used in ABS products, such as those from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) and the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). The definitions contained in the Glossary relate to statistics with a 'where' dimension.


Did you know that the ABS is responsible for developing statistical geography standards that are used for the dissemination of statistics? There is an ABS Statistical Geography web portal available on the ABS website that provides information on what a statistical geography is, as well as information on and relating to the current statistical geography standards.

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is the Australian Bureau of Statistics' new geographical framework and it is effective from July 2011. The ASGS replaces the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). The ASGS is being utilised for release of data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, however 2011 Census data is also available on ASGC statistical local areas (SLAs). The vast majority of ABS spatial data will be based on the ASGS by 2014. More information about the change to the ASGS is on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the ABS Statistical Geography web portal.

For information on the geographical units of the ASGS see the Australian Statistical Geography Standard page in the ABS Statistical Geography web portal.

How do Local Government Areas fit into the ASGS?

The ASGS brings all the regions used by the ABS to output data under the one umbrella. They are divided into two broad categories: ABS Structures (those regions which are defined and maintained by the ABS) and Non-ABS Structures (those regions defined and maintained by other organisations, but for which the ABS supplies data). Local government areas (LGAs) are not defined or maintained by the ABS and are therefore included in the Non-ABS Structures of the ASGS. LGAs are approximated by aggregates of whole Mesh Blocks (MB) which are the smallest region within the ASGS. The ABS will update the LGA structure of the ASGS annually. This will enable the continued availability of LGA data under the ASGS.

For more information on how LGAs fit into the ASGS please refer to the Local Government Areas Fact Sheet from the ASGS Fact Sheets page on the ABS Statistical Geography web portal.

Digital Boundary Files

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 3 - Non-ABS Structures, July 2011 (cat no. 1270.0.55.003) includes the 2011 LGA digital boundary files in MapInfo Interchange and ESRI Shapefile formats. This publication also includes the manual, LGA labels and codes for all LGAs under the ASGS Non-ABS Structures.

The 2013 update of ASGS Non-ABS Structures was released on 23 July 2013 in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2013 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003). This update contains revised digital boundaries, codes and labels for some LGAs since the 2012 edition. Changes to ABS approximated LGAs are only made when a whole MB can be allocated to represent the official LGA change. If the MB cannot be used to approximate the change, the ABS LGA has remained the same.

Further information about LGAs can be found in the 2011 publication of the Non-ABS Structures, ASGS Non ABS Structures July 2011 - Chapter 2 Local Government Areas.


The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat no. 1270.0.55.005) released in January 2013, is the fifth and final volume of a series detailing the ASGS. This publication describes the Remoteness Structure of the ASGS. The Remoteness Structure provides a geographical standard for the publication of statistics by relative remoteness.

The digital boundaries, codes and names for the regions described in this volume are available free of charge from the ABS Statistical Geography web portal.


To assist with the implementation of the ASGS, an extensive range of correspondences are available. Correspondences involve mathematically reassigning the data from one geographic region to another. Under the ASGS a new method for building correspondences has been developed. The standard correspondences use a weighting calculated using mesh block population data from the 2011 Census. For more information, including the availability of the various correspondences, see the Correspondences page of the ABS Statistical Geography web portal. Correspondences based on area or other variables may also be available on request. Several correspondences, including LGA, were released in June and July 2012 in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Correspondences, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.006).

Further detail on correspondences and other options for converting data to the ASGS is in the ABS Information Paper: Converting Data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, 2012 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.004).

The latest Mesh Block to ABS LGA files (CSV format) containing codes and area (in square kilometres) for all LGAs under the ASGS Non-ABS Structures are included in Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 3 - Non-ABS Structures (cat no. 1270.0.55.003).

A summary table of the ABS publications impacted by the transition from the ASGC to the ASGS is included on the ASGS Implementation Schedule for ABS Publications page in the ABS Statistical Geography web portal. For each publication the table summarises the geographical level available (including LGAs) and output dates for data on the ASGC and the ASGS. It also indicates the availability of any time series data.

The schedule also includes links to more detailed release plans where they are available. For example, for detailed information on Population Estimates see the ABS Information Paper: Population Estimates Under Australia's New Statistical Geography, August 2011 (cat. no. 3219.0.55.001). Plans for LGA Building Approvals statistics are outlined in Building Approvals, Australia, April 2011 (cat. no. 8731.0). Building Approvals, Australia (cat. no. 8731.0) began releasing statistics under the ASGS in the July 2011 issue.

The implementation schedule will continue to be updated with information as it becomes available.


For more information please follow the link to the ABS Statistical Geography web portal. If you have any questions regarding the ASGS please email geography@abs.gov.au.