1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2016   
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A new edition of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) manual is anticipated to be published in 2021. That version of the ASGS is timed for release for use with the Census of Population and Housing. All levels and regions of the ASGS will be reviewed for the next ASGS edition. This chapter summarises the terms of the review and an approximate time frame.


Prior to the next ASGS edition, the Mesh Blocks will be reviewed and where appropriate redesigned, 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.


The ABS will publish the ABS Structures with each new ASGS edition. Between ASGS editions, the ABS will monitor and assess feedback on their conceptual basis and usefulness.

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)

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
  • minor boundary alignment changes will be made to maintain the alignment to the underlying physical geography.

Statistical Area Level 1 to Statistical Area Level 4 will not necessarily be changed to reflect changes in administrative boundaries, such as Local Government Areas or Postcodes.

Other ABS Structures

Feedback on the conceptual basis of Indigenous Structure, Remoteness Areas, Urban Centres and Localities/Section of State and Significant Urban Areas will be monitored and assessed prior to the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. A substantial review of the Indigenous Structure is anticipated prior to the release of the next edition of the ASGS.


Non ABS Structures will be reviewed annually to accommodate any hierarchy or boundary changes. The ABS will provide 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 structures with critical stakeholder needs or for those which undergo substantial change.


New ABS and Non ABS Structures can be considered for inclusion into the ASGS if they meet the following criteria:
  • they satisfy the classification principles of the ASGS
  • they can be built up from or reasonably approximated by MB
  • they are generally accepted and will be used by a wide range of key stakeholders
  • the ABS is able 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
  • if the structure is accepted, the ABS will develop or support the new structure classification
  • the ABS will then publish the new structure.