The Indigenous Structure provides a geographical standard for the publication and analysis of statistics about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia. The ABS is committed to improving the quality and comprehensiveness of data available about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Quality data helps to accurately measure and monitor progress against targets to help close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. The release of an updated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific geography will enhance the interpretability of information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The Indigenous Structure comprises 3 levels of geographic units in a single hierarchy. The Indigenous Structure is built directly from Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s). Indigenous Locations are formed by combining together (i.e. aggregating) one or more SA1s. These in turn are aggregated to form Indigenous Areas, which are aggregated to form Indigenous Regions.
At each level of the hierarchical structure, the component geospatial units collectively cover the whole of geographic Australia without gaps or overlaps.
The boundaries for the Indigenous Structure are constructed from SA1s. SA1s were developed with a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific design considerations that enable them to be a highly effective building block for the Indigenous Structure. Compared to other structures in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), the Indigenous Structure ensures that the data produced for these areas is more useful, as it better represents the different distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Peoples in the broader Australian community, and ensures data can be released on these populations while also maintaining confidentiality.
There has been a considerable effort to improve the spatial accuracy of the mapping representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in remote areas. This flows through into the spatial accuracy of the SA1 boundaries that are used to bound these communities in the ASGS. This will facilitate improved enumeration and output of census and other data, and enable more effective spatial comparison with sources, such as satellite imagery.
SA1s separately identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with approximate populations of over 90. SA1s are designed to combine related populations and this includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Resources such as language groups, information from persons with local knowledge of certain communities, and transport networks have all been used to maximise the extent to which SA1s contain interrelated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
In some cases, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are too small to be identified separately have been combined with other nearby and associated communities. This has resulted in some non-contiguous Indigenous SA1s with a population of over 90. This enables the release of census and other data on a population completely within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Further information on SA1s can be found in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).