3106.0 - Demography News, Nov 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2008   
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The ABS released the Information Paper: Outcomes from the Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0.55.002) in July 2008. This paper explains that the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) will be replaced with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) in July 2011. This paper is a response to an earlier Information Paper: Review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0.55.001).

Diagram 1. Structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard
Diagram: Structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard

The ASGS brings all the spatial regions used by the ABS to output data under the one umbrella. They are separated into two broad categories: ABS structures, those which are defined and maintained by the ABS; and non-ABS structures, those defined and maintained by other organisations, but for which the ABS supplies data.

The regions of the ASGS will be designed over the next two years. The Statistical Area 2 boundaries for each state are currently being designed in close consultation with key stakeholders. They are the first region being designed, as these have emerged as the key level in the ABS Main Structure. They are the level at which Estimated Residential Population (ERP) will be modelled and released, as well as the majority of other ABS sub-state intercensal data. They will have a minimum population of 3,000 and a maximum of 25,000. They are conceptually different from the current Statistical Local Areas and therefore likely to have different boundaries. ERP will continue to be published for Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Statistical Area 1s are the smallest areas for which a wide range of Population Census data will be released. They will have a population of about 400 people, comparable in size to the current Census Collection District. Statistical Area 3s (SA3s) and Statistical Area 4s (SA4s) will be the last regions of the Main Structure developed. SA4s will be used for the release of Labour Force Statistics and will have a population in the region of 200,000. SA3s are a medium sized unit with a more variable population from 30 to 100,000.

Urban Centres and Localities (UCL) and Remoteness structures require data from the 2011 Census to be defined. The ABS intends to generate UCL boundaries on a similar basis to past methods.

The non-ABS structures will be developed up to and beyond the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Apart from the Indigenous geography, which will be more integrated into the ABS structures, other non-ABS geographies will be approximated using mesh blocks close to the date of the Census.

Stakeholders interested in being consulted over the design, or anyone who has any questions about the new Geography, should email geography@abs.gov.au.