Latest release

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3

A classification of Australia into a hierarchy of statistical areas for the publication and analysis of official statistics and other data

Reference period
July 2021 - June 2026
Released
20/07/2021

Recent changes

6 October 2021

Overview

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is a classification of Australia into a hierarchy of statistical areas. It is a social geography, developed to reflect the location of people and communities. It is used for the publication and analysis of official statistics and other data. The ASGS is updated every 5 years to account for growth and change in Australia’s population, economy and infrastructure.

For the 2021 release, the ASGS will be re-named to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3. Until this point, the ASGS has been named according to the Census of Population and Housing year it referred to. This has led to confusion as the ASGS has historically been published across several years. For example, the Urban Centres and Localities publication for ASGS 2016 was published in 2017.

ASGS Edition 3 will be used for the 2021 Census of Population and Housing, and will be progressively introduced into other ABS data collections from 2022. ASGS Edition 3 is an update of ASGS 2016 (Edition 2).

Release schedule

For the first time, this edition combines the entire ASGS framework into one publication which will be updated progressively. The expected release schedule can be found in the following table.

Expected release dates
Section of the ASGSExpected release
Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical AreasJuly 2021
Indigenous StructureOctober 2021
Non ABS StructuresOctober 2021
Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of StateLate 2022
Remoteness StructureEarly 2023

 

ASGS Edition 3 Structures

The ASGS is split into two parts, the ABS and Non ABS Structures.

The ABS Structures are geographies that the ABS designs specifically for the release and analysis of statistics. This means that the statistical areas are designed to meet the requirements of statistical collections as well as geographic concepts relevant to those statistics. This helps to ensure the confidentiality, accuracy and relevance of ABS data.

The ABS Structures include several different geographies that approximate urban areas, and these may differ from official or commonly accepted definitions. A brief description of these geographies can be found in this section, and further detail is available in relevant sections of this publication.

The Non ABS Structures generally represent administrative regions which are not defined or maintained by the ABS, but for which the ABS is committed to directly providing a range of statistics. All Non ABS Structures are approximated using ASGS regions. Because of this, they are only cartographic representations of legally (or otherwise) designated boundaries, for example ASGS State and Territory boundaries and Local Government Areas, and should not be used for legal purposes.

Before using an ASGS geography, the purpose, design criteria, and update frequency should be carefully considered. ABS Maps can be used to compare geographies visually.

ABS Structures

The ABS Structures consist of six interrelated hierarchies of regions:

Main Structure

The Main Structure is developed by the ABS and is used to release and analyse a broad range of social, demographic and economic statistics. It is a nested hierarchy of geographies, and each level directly aggregates to the next level.

Mesh Blocks (MBs) are the smallest geographic areas defined by the ABS and form the building blocks for the larger regions of the ASGS. Most Mesh Blocks contain 30 to 60 dwellings.

Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) are designed to maximise the geographic detail available for Census of Population and Housing data while maintaining confidentiality. Most SA1s have a population of between 200 to 800 people.

Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) are medium-sized general purpose areas built to represent communities that interact together socially and economically. Most SA2s have a population range of 3,000 to 25,000 people.

Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s) are designed for the output of regional data and most have populations between 30,000 and 130,000 people.

Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s) are designed for the output of a variety of regional data, and represent labour markets and the functional area of Australian capital cities. Most SA4s have a population of over 100,000 people.

States and Territories (S/T) are a cartographic representation of legally designated state and territory boundaries.

Australia (AUS) is the largest region in the ASGS and represents the geographic extent of Australia.

Indigenous Structure

The Indigenous Structure enables the publication and analysis of statistics for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia.

Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) represent small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (urban and rural) with a minimum population of about 90 people.

Indigenous Areas (IAREs) are medium sized geographical areas designed to facilitate the release of more detailed statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous Regions (IREGs) are large geographical areas based on historical boundaries. The larger population of Indigenous Regions enables highly detailed analysis.

Urban Centres and Localities, and Section of State Structure

Urban Centres and Localities and Section of State represent areas of concentrated urban development.

Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs) are aggregations of SA1s which meet population density criteria or contain other urban infrastructure.

Section of State (SOS) groups the UCLs into classes of urban areas based on population size. SOS does not explicitly define rural Australia, however any population not contained in a UCL is considered to be rural. 

Section of State Range (SOSR) provides a more detailed classification than SOS. This enables statistical comparison of differently sized urban centres and rural areas.

Remoteness Structure

Remoteness Areas divide Australia and the states and territories into 5 classes of remoteness on the basis of their relative access to services. Remoteness Areas are based on the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), produced by the Hugo Centre for Population and Housing.

Greater Capital City Statistical Area Structure

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) represent the functional area of each of the eight state and territory capital cities.

Significant Urban Area Structure

Significant Urban Areas (SUAs) represent individual Urban Centres or clusters of related Urban Centres with a core urban population of over 10,000 people.

Non ABS Structures

The Non ABS Structures consist of eight geographies:

  • Local Government Areas are an ABS Mesh Block representation of gazetted Local Government boundaries as defined by each state and territory.
  • State Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of state electoral districts.
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) federal electoral division boundaries.
  • Postal Areas are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of a general definition of postcodes.
  • Tourism Regions are an ABS SA2 approximation of tourism regions as provided by Tourism Research Australia.
  • Australian Drainage Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of drainage divisions as provided through Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric.
  • Suburbs and Localities (formerly State Suburbs) are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of gazetted localities.
  • Destination Zones are co-designed with state and territory transport authorities for the analysis of Place of Work Census of Population and Housing data, commuting patterns and the development of transport policy.

Figure 1 depicts the various ABS and Non ABS Structures, their component regions and how they interrelate.

ASGS diagram

Figure 1

This diagram shows how different elements of the ASGS are related.
The diagram shows how different elements of the ASGS are related.

The main building blocks of the ASGS are Mesh Blocks. Mesh Blocks build to SA1s which aggregate up to SA2s and so on in the following order from smallest to largest areas: Mesh Blocks, SA1s, SA2s, SA3s, SA4s, State/Territories and Australia. Greater Capital City Statistical Areas are published as part of the Main Structure and are built up from SA4s.

The smallest units of the Indigenous Structure, Indigenous Locations are built up from SA1s. Indigenous Locations aggregate up to Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Areas then aggregate up to Indigenous Regions.

Most Non ABS Structures are built up from Mesh Blocks. This includes Postal Areas, Suburbs and Localities, Local Government Areas, State Electoral Divisions, Commonwealth Electoral Divisions, Australian Drainage Divisions and Destination Zones. Tourism Regions are the exception and are built up from SA2s.

Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs) are built from SA1s. The population contained within each UCL then determines which Section of State Region and Section of State each UCL is allocated to. Significant Urban Areas are built from SA2s and are designed to capture larger towns and cities.

Remoteness Areas are built up from SA1s.

Further detail on how both the ABS Structures and Non ABS Structures are designed is available in the different sections of this publication.

Key changes

For ASGS Edition 3, Mesh Blocks, SA1s and SA2s have been updated to reflect population growth and changes to infrastructure. These changes allow users to access meaningful statistics on communities of interest. Detailed information on Main Structure changes is recorded in the Changes from the previous edition of the ASGS section of this publication.

Other significant changes to the ASGS since 2016 are:

  • short codes for SA1s and SA2s will no longer be provided
  • digital boundaries are now published using both the Geocentric Datum of Australia 94 (GDA94) and Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)
  • Main Structure and GCCSA geographies now have a ‘Change Flag’ attribute denoting whether an area is new in Edition 3, or has a code or name change
  • Destination Zones (DZNs) are now officially included in Non ABS Structures
  • Natural Resource Management Regions (NRMRs) are no longer published as part of the ASGS
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs) and State Electoral Divisions (SEDs) are now built up from Mesh Blocks rather than SA1s
  • a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) attribute has been added to all ASGS boundaries, which can be used in data integration

Non ABS Structures update schedule

For ASGS Edition 3, the Non ABS Structures schedule will change slightly from previous editions. State Electoral Divisions and Commonwealth Electoral Divisions will be updated in 2021, and then only in years where there have been electoral redistributions. The ABS will continue to support users accessing data on redistributed boundaries outside of this release schedule through the provision of allocation and correspondence files.

Update schedule
Non ABS geographyUpdate schedule
Local Government Areas2021 then annually
State Electoral Divisions2021 then annually (only when redistributions have occurred)
Commonwealth Electoral Divisions2021 then annually (only when redistributions have occurred)
Postal Areas2021 - Every five years
Tourism Regions2021 - Every five years
Australian Drainage Divisions2021 - Every five years
Suburbs and Localities*2021 - Every five years
Destination Zones2021 - Every five years

*Suburbs and Localities are called State Suburbs in previous editions of the ASGS

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

The Main Structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is developed by the ABS and is used to release and analyse a broad range of social, demographic and economic statistics. It is also widely used by other organisations. The structure is broadly based on the concept of a functional area. A functional area is an area within which many people commute or travel to access services.

The structure has seven hierarchical levels listed below in descending order:

  • Australia (AUS)
  • States and Territories (S/T)
  • Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)
  • Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)
  • Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)
  • Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s)
  • Mesh Blocks (MBs)

Each level directly aggregates to the level above. For example, SA1s are aggregates of Mesh Blocks and they in turn aggregate to SA2s. This principle continues up through the remaining levels of the hierarchy. At each hierarchical level, all of Geographic Australia is covered without gaps or overlaps.

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs), while not a part of the Main Structure hierarchy, are geographic regions that are also designed to represent functional areas.

For ASGS Edition 3, the number of records within each region type by State and Territory and Australia wide, is shown below.

Number of records by region
RegionNSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTOTAust.Total*
S/T111111111910
GCCSA4444444333435
SA43019219126433107108
SA394688430361711126358359
SA26445245481762671017013662,4722,473
SA119,75015,48212,5494,3296,3521,4826491,2292261,84461,845
MB112,73888,73971,86228,43143,32213,0343,3616,662136368,285368,286

*Total varies from the Australia count by one as it includes a new special purpose code for Outside Australia.

For information on how the Main Structure and GCCSAs relate to the whole ASGS, refer to the ASGS diagram.

Mesh Blocks

Mesh Blocks are the smallest geographic areas defined by the ABS and form the building blocks for the larger regions of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). They broadly identify land use such as residential, commercial, primary production and parks. Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) are generally the smallest geographic unit used to release Census of Population and Housing data; however, for ASGS Edition 3, limited Census of Population and Housing data may also be available at the Mesh Block level.

ASGS Edition 3 contains 368,286 Mesh Blocks covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This includes 114 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. These non-spatial Mesh Blocks represent populations that are difficult to define geographically such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. Migratory and No Usual Address are examples of this type of Mesh Block.

The Non ABS structures that will be approximated from Mesh Blocks include Local Government Areas, Postal Areas, Suburbs and Localities (formerly State Suburbs), Commonwealth Electoral Divisions, State Electoral Divisions, Australian Drainage Divisions and Destination Zones.

As Mesh Blocks are very small they can be combined together to accurately approximate a large range of other geographies.

Mesh Block design criteria

Mesh Blocks for ASGS Edition 3 are designed according to a standard set of criteria first developed for ASGS 2011. All of the criteria considered are listed below in approximate order of importance.

Please note that the order of importance for some criteria may change depending on whether an area is urban or rural. For example, in urban areas, the requirement for dwelling counts over 30 takes precedence over the requirement to match locality boundaries. In rural areas however, matching locality boundaries sometimes takes precedence over minimum dwelling requirements because of the flow on effect Mesh Block design has on other structures in the hierarchy. 

Land use

Mesh Blocks reflect dominant land use where possible. For example, residential areas are separated from commercial or industrial areas. Wherever possible, each Mesh Block is designed to have a single land use, for example parkland, but this is not always possible. Land use is recorded in the Mesh Block category attribute according to the criteria below. 

  • Residential: will mainly contain houses, duplexes, apartments, townhouses, gated communities, caravan parks, retirement villages, residential military bases, and prisons. Where possible, residential areas are separated from other land uses.
  • Commercial: will contain a number of businesses, and where possible, will have a zero population count. Some commercial Mesh Blocks may contain population, for example, where a residential flat is above a shop.
  • Industrial: will contain a number of businesses, and where possible, will have a zero population count.
  • Parkland: will mainly contain parks, nature reserves, public open space, and other minimal use protected or conserved areas and, where possible, will have a zero population count. Parkland Mesh Blocks may also include sporting arenas or facilities, including racecourses, golf courses and stadiums. These facilities may not be open to the public.
  • Education: will contain education facilities, and may contain population in non-private dwellings such as boarding schools or universities.
  • Hospital/Medical: will contain hospital or medical facilities. This may include aged care facilities, which are distinguished from larger retirement villages.
  • Transport: will contain road or rail features and, where possible, will have a zero population count.
  • Primary Production: a Mesh Block is classified as Primary Production when available information indicates that more than half of the area is used for primary production.
  • Water: will mainly contain various bodies of water including lakes, rivers and canals, and where possible will have a zero population count.
  • Other: includes Mesh Blocks which could not be easily placed in one of the other nine categories due to the nature of the land use, or due to evidence of high mixed use. Many Mesh Blocks which were classified as agricultural in earlier editions of the ASGS are now classified as other.

Dwellings

Mesh Blocks are designed where possible to contain between 30 and 60 dwellings, with some low dwelling count Mesh Blocks permitted to accommodate other design criteria. The minimum dwelling count of Mesh Blocks is designed to be small enough to aggregate accurately to a wide range of areas and to enable a ready comparison of statistics between geographic regions. The Mesh Block target size helps the ABS protect against accidental disclosure of confidential information.

Zero Mesh Blocks

Zero Mesh Blocks are created to capture areas with no population, such as airports, commercial or industrial developments, and large shopping complexes.

Growth

Mesh Blocks are created in anticipation of development which is likely to occur before the date of the 2021 Census of Population and Housing.

Cadastre

Where practical, Mesh Block boundaries do not cross cadastral (property) boundaries. Mesh Blocks are designed to be an aggregation of land parcels.

Roads

Mesh Blocks follow road centre lines where possible. Roads, particularly major roads such as highways and motorways, are used as Mesh Block boundaries where possible.

Single polygon

Each Mesh Block is a single area, for example every island is a single Mesh Block.

Suburbs and Localities (or rural suburbs)

Where possible, Mesh Blocks are designed to contain or aggregate to whole officially gazetted suburbs or localities, especially in rural areas.

Major facility

Mesh Blocks, where possible, contain an entire major facility. This includes hospitals, universities, airports, correctional centres, and retirement villages, which occupy a large area of land, extend across both sides of a street, or have an internal road network.

High density housing

High density housing (such as apartment blocks) have been identified and are included in individual Mesh Blocks of compact shape, where possible. This means that some Mesh Blocks have more than 60 dwellings.

Communities of interest

Mesh Blocks aim to group communities of interest together. For example, a whole apartment building, residential complex, parking lot, shopping complex or retirement village is contained in one Mesh Block, if possible.

Town blocks

Where possible in urban areas, Mesh Blocks reflect town blocks.

Accessibility

Where possible, all dwellings/buildings are to be accessible by road or pathway from within the Mesh Block so that communities of interest are grouped together. For example the houses on a cul-de-sac are contained in one Mesh Block and therefore boundaries may follow a back fence.

Shape

Where practical, Mesh Blocks are designed to be compact in size and shape, especially in urban areas.

Continuity

Natural and man-made barriers, such as main roads, are used as boundaries in order to keep communities together. This means that if a Mesh Block boundary runs along a main road then adjacent Mesh Block boundaries will follow the same road if possible. This will provide consistency and continuity in the aggregated regions made from Mesh Blocks.

Topography

Mesh Block boundaries reflect topographic, or landscape, features where practical.
The topographic features used for Mesh Block design include:

  • water bodies such as rivers and lakes
  • transportation such as roads and rail
  • open space such as parkland, nature reserves and forest
  • major mountain ranges or escarpments

Mesh Block name criteria

Mesh Blocks are not named. 

Mesh Block coding structure

The 11-digit Mesh Block code comprises: State and Territory identifier (1 digit), and a Mesh Block identifier (10 digits).

Coding structure example for 60106840000
S/TMB
60106840000

 

Mesh Block changes

Some Mesh Block redesign has occurred for the release of ASGS Edition 3. This redesign is necessary to ensure that Mesh Blocks continue to meet the criteria set out above, and so that they remain relevant by reflecting the growth and change in Australia's population, economy and infrastructure.

Changes to Mesh Block boundaries occur where growth and development have taken place since the last edition of the ASGS in 2016. Boundaries were modified in the simplest way possible to facilitate comparison over time. Where changes were made, they were undertaken to ensure long term stability into the future.

This redesign has in turn affected the coding of the Mesh Blocks. Where a 2016 Mesh Block has been split or significantly redesigned, the original 2016 Mesh Block code has been retired and replaced with a new, previously unused code for ASGS Edition 3.

Some design changes to boundaries that reflect changes to physical infrastructure, such as realigned roads, do not result in the movement between Mesh Blocks of substantial numbers of households or businesses, or land area. These changes have been made for cartographic purposes to ensure that the ASGS boundaries can be used with standard mapping data. They are not considered to be significant and have not resulted in code changes.

Statistical Area Level 1

Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) are geographic areas built from whole Mesh Blocks. Whole SA1s aggregate to form Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s). SA1s are designed to maximise the geographic detail available for Census of Population and Housing data. However, limited Census of Population and Housing data may also be available at the Mesh Block level for ASGS Edition 3.

There are 61,845 SA1 regions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This includes 34 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. These non-spatial SA1s represent populations that are difficult to define geographically such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. Examples include the Migratory and No Usual Address SA1s.

SA1s are also used as the building blocks for some ASGS geographies, including the Indigenous Structure, Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State Structure, and the Remoteness Structure.

SA1 design criteria

SA1s are designed using multiple criteria, listed below in approximate order of importance.

Population

SA1s generally have a population of 200 to 800 people, and an average population of about 400 people. SA1s in remote and regional areas generally have smaller populations than those in urban areas. Some low population count SA1s were permitted to accommodate other design criteria.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population

SA1s are designed to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as accurately as possible, particularly in remote areas.

Urban and rural

SA1s are designed to be either urban or rural in character.

Urban SA1s contain one or more of the following:

  • residential development with a density of over 200 people per square kilometre
  • built infrastructure including: ports, airports with paved runways, industrial, commercial and retail development, large sporting complexes, education campuses, places of worship, military camps and research stations
  • local parks and playgrounds
  • local sports facilities and ovals
  • vegetation corridors
  • golf courses
  • cemeteries
  • lakes, rivers, riverbanks, creeks and drainage reserves surrounded by development of an urban character
  • sewerage facilities, waste disposal facilities, hospitals, transport hubs, and grain storage

Rural SA1s contain one or more of the following:

  • residential development with a density of less than 200 people per square kilometre
  • agriculture
  • national parks
  • defence reserves
  • indigenous lands
  • mines
  • stockyards
  • lakes, rivers, riverbanks, creeks and drainage reserves not surrounded by development of an urban character

Transport

SA1s are generally internally connected by road transport. Exceptions include islands, which are either combined with the nearest onshore SA1 or grouped with other islands.

Suburbs and localities (or rural suburbs)

Where possible, SA1s are designed to contain, or aggregate to, whole gazetted suburbs or rural localities. In urban areas, the gazetted suburbs usually consist of one or more SA1s.

In regional and remote areas, gazetted localities are sometimes too small to represent as an SA1. Smaller localities are grouped together based on their Local Government Area, the use of shared road networks, the use of shared community facilities, and landscape features such as location within a valley.

Growth

SA1s are created in anticipation of development which is likely to occur before the date of the 2021 Census of Population and Housing.

Prisons

Prisons, remand centres and juvenile detention centres with a population of over 200 people are generally represented by their own SA1.

Defence bases

Defence bases with a population of over 200 people are generally represented by their own SA1.

Zero SA1s

Zero SA1s are SA1s with a nil population. They are created to represent large unpopulated areas that are not easily combined with surrounding populated SA1s.

They may include one or more of the following:

  • airports
  • ports
  • commercial developments
  • industrial developments
  • large shopping complexes
  • large sporting complexes
  • large educational campuses
  • research stations
  • large cemeteries
  • golf courses
  • national parks
  • large urban parks
  • defence reserves
  • restricted Commonwealth land
  • groups of unpopulated islands
  • very large areas of land which are unlikely to ever be populated, for example extreme desert or otherwise inhospitable terrain
  • lakes

SA1 name criteria

SA1s are not named.

SA1 coding structure

SA1s are identified by an 11-digit fully hierarchical code, comprising the 1-digit State and Territory, and Statistical Areas Level 1-4 identifiers. The SA1 identifier is a 2-digit code, assigned within an SA2. An SA1 code is only unique within a State or Territory when it is preceded by the State or Territory identifier.

Coding structure example for 50302104118
S/TSA4SA3SA2SA1
50302104118

 

The ABS previously provided an additional, short 7-digit code for SA1s. Short codes are not included in ASGS Edition 3 to reduce confusion. Support is available via statistical consultancies for users that need support to transition from using 7-digit to 11-digit codes.

In the future, it may be necessary to allocate new codes. If an SA1 is discontinued, or changes significantly for new editions of the ASGS, the SA1 identifier will be retired and the replacement SA1s will be given the next available previously unused SA1 identifier within the SA2.

Statistical Area Level 2

Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) are medium-sized general purpose areas built up from whole Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s). Their purpose is to represent a community that interacts together socially and economically.

There are 2,473 SA2s covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This includes 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. These non-spatial SA2s represent populations that are difficult to define geographically such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. These are represented by Migratory – Offshore – Shipping and No Usual Address SA2s.

SA2s are generally the smallest areas used for the release of ABS non-Census of Population and Housing statistics, including Estimated Resident Population and Health and Vitals data. Whole SA2s aggregate to form Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s). SA2s are also used to build Significant Urban Areas and to approximate Tourism Regions.

SA2 design criteria

SA2s are designed using multiple criteria, listed below in approximate order of importance.

Population

SA2s generally have a population between 3,000 and 25,000 with an average of about 10,000 people. SA2s in remote and regional areas generally have smaller populations than those in urban areas. There are some SA2s outside these target population ranges due to other considerations including:

  • The relative sparseness of the population in remote regions (an SA2 with a population of 3,000 may cover too large and diverse a geographic area to be meaningful).
  • The benefit of preserving recognisable areas for which there is a considerable amount of historical data.
  • Isolated geographic areas, such as islands or other isolated populations.
  • The need to avoid subdivisions of otherwise coherent regions, such as very large suburbs or regional towns.

Functional areas

A functional area is the area from which people come to access services at a centre. This centre may be a rural town, a regional city, a commercial and transport hub within a major city, or the major city itself. The concept of a functional area is used at all levels of the ABS Main Structure and is particularly essential to the design of SA2s outside of major urban areas.

A centre and its functional area are represented by one or more SA2s. A rural town and its functional area may be combined into a single SA2. A larger town may be identified by a single SA2 and its functional area around the town by a second SA2. Larger towns and regional cities may be represented by several SA2s.

Within cities, SA2s represent gazetted suburbs rather than functional areas.

In remote areas, SA2s are designed to represent meaningful regions, useful for statistical analysis.

Growth

SA2s containing regional towns or on the fringes of larger cities are designed to contain the urban area, any immediately associated semi urban development, and likely growth areas in the next 10 to 20 years. This is to ensure that the SA2 boundaries remain stable over several population and housing censuses.

Suburbs and Localities (or rural suburbs)

Where possible, SA2s consist of whole gazetted suburbs or rural localities. This is to make the regions as meaningful as possible to users unfamiliar with statistical geography and to facilitate address coding to other ASGS units.

In regional and remote areas, gazetted localities are usually too small to be represented by a single SA2 and are combined with neighbouring areas to represent a functional area or other meaningful region.

In major cities, SA2s often represent single suburbs. Suburb size is variable within and between cities and they do not always make a convenient region to be used directly as an SA2. Where this occurs, five general criteria are used to cluster smaller suburbs together or break up extremely large suburbs:

  • shared road networks
  • shared community facilities
  • Local Government Areas
  • shared historical or social links
  • socio-economic similarity

Local Government Areas

Local Government Areas (LGAs) are considered in the design of SA2s and are often adopted where the LGA boundary satisfies one or more of the following:

  • it closely aligns with gazetted suburb boundaries
  • it reflects the underlying settlement pattern
  • it represents the functional area of a regional town or city
  • it has a high degree of recognition among stakeholders
  • it aligns to a significant recognisable geographic feature

Zero SA2s

Zero SA2s have a nil population. They are created to represent large unpopulated areas that are not easily combined with surrounding populated SA2s.

They may include:

  • major infrastructure (such as ports and airports)
  • significant bodies of water
  • major commercial and industrial zones
  • national parks
  • defence land
  • very large urban parks
  • very large sporting precincts

SA2 name criteria

The key criteria for SA2 names are that they be: 

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other SA2 in Australia

In large urban areas, SA2s are named for the gazetted suburbs they contain.

  • Where an SA2 is made from a single suburb, it will retain the name of the suburb, for example “Curtin”.
  • Where a single large suburb is split into more than one SA2, it will retain the name of the suburb and a geographic identifier, for example “Mount Waverley – North”.
  • Where an SA2 is made up from 2 or 3 suburbs, the SA2 name is a concatenation of the suburb names, for example “Greenfield Park – Prairiewood”.
  • Where an SA2 is made up of 4 or more suburbs it will be named for the larger or more prominent suburbs, or given a local identifier, for example “Belgrave - Selby”.

In rural areas, SA2s are named for the gazetted localities they contain, or the towns, cities, or regions with which they are associated, for example:

  • Benalla Surrounds
  • Townsville – South
  • Bulahdelah – Stroud

In previous editions of the ASGS, SA2s surrounding towns have been referred to as “X Region”, even when the town was not included in that SA2. In ASGS Edition 3, SA2s which do not include the town have been renamed to “X Surrounds” to reduce confusion. For example, “Cooma Region”, does not include the town of Cooma so it has been renamed to “Cooma Surrounds”.

Where an SA2 name appears in two or more State and Territories, the State or Territory abbreviation is attached to the SA2 name, for example:

  • O’Connor (ACT)
  • O’Connor (WA)

SA2 coding structure

An SA2 is identifiable by a 9-digit fully hierarchical code comprising the 1-digit State or Territory identifier, and Statistical Areas Level 2-4 identifiers. The SA2 identifier is a 4-digit code, assigned in alphabetical order within an SA3. An SA2 code is only unique within a State or Territory if it is preceded by the State or Territory identifier.

Coding structure example for 503021295 East Perth
S/TSA4SA3SA2SA2 Name
503021295East Perth

 

The ABS previously provided a short, 5-digit code for SA2s. Short codes are not included in ASGS Edition 3 to reduce confusion. Support is available via statistical consultancies for users that need support to transition from using 5-digit to 9-digit codes.

In the future, it may be necessary to allocate new codes. If an SA2 is discontinued, or changes significantly for new editions of the ASGS, the SA2 identifier will be retired and the replacement SA2s will be given the next available previously unused SA2 identifier within the State or Territory.

Statistical Area Level 3

Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s) are geographic areas built from whole Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s). They are designed for the output of regional data, including 2021 Census of Population and Housing data. SA3s create a standard framework for the analysis of ABS data at the regional level through clustering groups of SA2s that have similar regional characteristics. Whole SA3s aggregate to form Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s).

There are 359 SA3s covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This includes 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. These non-spatial SA3s represent populations that are difficult to define geographically, such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. These are represented by Migratory – Offshore – Shipping and No Usual Address SA3s.

The Other Territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by individual SA3s.

SA3 design criteria

SA3s are designed using multiple criteria, listed below in approximate order of importance.

Population

In general, SA3s are designed to have populations between 30,000 and 130,000 people. However, the creation of meaningful regional areas takes priority over population criteria. As a result, there are some SA3s with populations above 130,000 or below 30,000.

Functional areas

SA3s are often the functional areas of regional towns and cities with a population in excess of 20,000 or clusters of related suburbs around urban commercial and transport hubs within the major urban areas.

Identifying regions

SA3s create a standard framework for the analysis of ABS data at the regional level through clustering groups of SA2s that have similar geographic and socio-economic characteristics. In many cases, these areas are defined by existing administrative boundaries, such as State Regional Development Areas or one or more Local Government Areas.

Zero SA3

Zero SA3s have a nil population. They are created to represent large unpopulated areas that are not easily combined with surrounding populated SA3s, such as large national parks on the fringes of large urban areas.

SA3 name criteria

The key criteria for SA3 names are that they be: 

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other SA3 in Australia

SA3s are named according to the areas they represent.

  • Where an SA3 represents a well-known regional area or a State Regional Development Area it is named after that region, for example “Southern Highlands”.
  • Where an SA3 represents the functional area of a regional city it is named after that city, for example “Wagga Wagga”. In some cases the name of an associated town or region is also included, for example “Griffith - Murrumbidgee (West)”.
  • Where an SA3 represents an economic hub within a major city it is generally named to reflect that hub, for example “Parramatta”.
  • Where an SA3 represents a group of related suburbs it is named after one or more of those suburbs that reflect its location, for example “North Sydney – Mosman”.
  • Where an SA3 name is not unique within Australia, it is followed by the State and Territory abbreviation in brackets, for example “Central Highlands (Tas.)”.

SA3 coding structure

SA3s are identified by 5-digit hierarchical codes. This comprises a 1-digit State or Territory identifier followed by a 2-digit SA4 identifier, unique within each State and Territory, and a 2-digit SA3 identifier, unique within each SA4.

Coding structure example for 11401 Shoalhaven
S/TSA4SA3SA3 Name
11401Shoalhaven

 

Statistical Area Level 4

Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4s) are geographic areas built from whole Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s). SA4s are the largest sub-state regions in the Main Structure of the ASGS and are designed for the output of a variety of regional data, including data from the 2021 Census of Population and Housing. SA4 boundaries represent labour markets and the functional area of Australian capital cities respectively. They are designed with an emphasis on stability over time to support the time series of statistical releases such as the Quarterly Labour Force publication. These areas represent labour markets or groups of labour markets within each state and territory.

Whole SA4s aggregate to Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and States and Territories. There are 108 SA4s covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This includes 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. These non-spatial SA4s represent populations that are difficult to define geographically such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. These are represented by Migratory – Offshore – Shipping and No Usual Address SA4s.

The Other Territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are together represented by a single SA4.

SA4 design criteria

SA4s are designed using multiple criteria, listed below in approximate order of importance.

Population

Most SA4s have a population above 100,000 people to provide sufficient sample size for Labour Force estimates. In regional areas, SA4s tend to have smaller populations of 100,000 to 300,000 people. In cities, SA4s tend to have larger populations of 300,000 to 500,000 people.

Labour markets

SA4s are designed to incorporate both labour supply (where people live) and demand (where people work). This enhances the quality of statistical outputs related to labour markets.

The ABS consulted with experts on labour market geography and undertook analysis of the Census of Population and Housing travel to work data to identify labour markets within Australia. The resulting labour markets are characterised by a large number of very small regional labour markets, a smaller number of medium sized labour markets around regional centres, and very large labour markets representing the major city centres. While this may be an accurate reflection of Australian labour markets, many of the regions did not meet the minimum population criterion.

SA4s are designed to represent the labour markets of the largest regional cities such as Wollongong, Bendigo and Townsville. SA4s present specific labour force data on these cities’ labour markets.

In outer regional and remote areas, labour markets tend to be small and localised around regional towns. SA4s in these areas represent aggregations of these labour markets based on geographic, social and economic similarities. SA4s which contain only remote and regional areas enable a picture of regional and remote labour force activity to be presented.

Smaller regional labour markets are combined based on travel to work interactions, as well as industry and regional similarities, to create SA4s of about 100,000 to 300,000 people. Medium sized regional centre labour markets that exceeded 100,000 people (for example Cairns, Qld) are preserved as far as possible as SA4s that directly represent the labour market, though in some cases small closely related labour markets are included in these SA4s. Very large labour markets of 300,000 to 500,000 people are split to reflect major employment hubs and their main labour supply catchments.

SA4 name criteria

The key criteria for SA4 names are that they be: 

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other SA4 in Australia

SA4s are named according to the areas they represent:

  • Where an SA4 represents a labour market of a major city it is named after that city, for example “Bendigo”.
  • Where an SA4 represents an employment centre within a larger city it is generally named to reflect both the larger city and the employment centre or part of the city that it represents, for example “Melbourne - Inner South”.
  • Where an SA4 represents a collection of labour markets in regional areas it is named using either a description of that part of the state and territory or after one or more well-known regional areas that it closely replicates, for example “Latrobe – Gippsland”.
  • Where the name does not identify it within Australia, it is generally preceded by the State or Territory name, for example “Western Australia - Wheat Belt”.

SA4 coding structure

SA4s are identified by a 3-digit hierarchical code. This comprises a 1-digit State or Territory identifier, which precedes a 2-digit SA4 identifier, unique within each State and Territory.

Coding structure example for 102 Central Coast
S/TSA4SA4 name
102Central Coast

 

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) are geographic areas built from Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s). GCCSA boundaries represent labour markets and the functional area of Australian capital cities respectively. They are designed with an emphasis on stability over time to support the time series of statistical releases such as the Quarterly Labour Force publication.

There are 16 GCCSAs covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. The GCCSA boundaries may differ from official or commonly applied area boundaries. There are 8 regions covering each of the Australian state and territory capital cities; 7 regions covering the rest of each state and the Northern Territory (ACT only has one GCCSA region for the entire Territory); and a region covering Other Territories which includes Jervis Bay, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.

In addition to these 16 GCCSA regions are 19 non-spatial special purpose codes, for a total of 35 GCCSAs. These non-spatial GCCSAs represent populations that are difficult to define geographically such as people who are in transit or have no fixed address. These special purpose codes include Migratory – Offshore – Shipping and No Usual Address for each State and Territory, as well as a new Outside Australia code.

GCCSA design criteria

GCCSAs are designed to represent the functional area of each of the eight State and Territory capital cities which includes populations who regularly socialise, shop or work within the city, but may live either in the city or in the small towns and rural areas surrounding the city. Within each State and Territory, the area not included in the GCCSA is represented by a Rest of State region. GCCSAs do not have population criteria.

GCCSA name criteria

GCCSAs are named according to the cities they represent, for example “Greater Sydney”. The remainder of the State and Territory is named Rest of <State>, for example “Rest of NSW”. The exceptions to this are the ACT, as the whole of the ACT is included in the GCCSA, and the Other Territories, which do not have a capital city.

GCCSA coding structure

A GCCSA is identified by a 5-character alphanumeric code. This comprises a 1-digit State or Territory identifier followed by a 4-character GCCSA identifier that is unique within each State and Territory.

Coding structure example for 1GSYD Greater Sydney
S/TGCCSA identifier
1GSYD

 

Australia and State/Territory

Australia is the largest geographic area in the Main Structure of the ASGS. The ASGS uses the geographic definition of Australia described in further detail in the definition of Australia section of this publication.

To align with the ISO 3166 standard, the ASGS Edition 3 code for Geographic Australia is identified by the unique three-character alpha code of AUS which replaces the three-digit numeric code of 036 (also ISO 3166 standard) as used in ASGS 2016.

Australia is broken up into the States and Territories that are separately recognised in the ASGS: 

  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Northern Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Other Territories (Jervis Bay Territory, Territory of Christmas Island, Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island)

The ASGS State and Territory boundaries are a cartographic representation of legally designated boundaries and therefore should not be used for legal purposes. In general, the total area of each State and Territory, including their offshore islands, is used for statistical purposes as a separate geographic area in the ASGS. However, the Jervis Bay Territory, and the Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island are included as one geographic area at the State and Territory level under the category of Other Territories.

States and Territories consist of one or more Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4). In aggregate, they cover Australia without gaps or overlaps.

Australia and State/Territory coding structure

States and Territories are identified by unique one-digit codes as follows:

State and Territory codes and names
CodeState or Territory name
1New South Wales
2Victoria
3Queensland
4South Australia
5Western Australia
6Tasmania
7Northern Territory
8Australian Capital Territory
9Other Territories

 

Special purpose codes

Special purpose codes allow address data to be coded to a non-spatial value. This occurs where there is insufficient information to code to a physical geographic area. For example, where someone is in transit on Census of Population and Housing night or where an incomplete address has been supplied.

Types of special purpose codes

  • Migratory - used to code people who are in transit on long distance trains, buses, aircraft and long haul road transport vehicles on Census of Population and Housing night.
  • Offshore - used to code people living offshore for example on oil rigs and drilling platforms. It is also used for expeditioners in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
  • Shipping - used to code people who are on board vessels in Australian waters which are in, or between, Australian ports on Census of Population and Housing night. For Mesh Blocks there are multiple Shipping special purpose codes that represent individual ports.
  • Outside Australia - used to facilitate particular ABS statistical releases. It does not have a geographic region and has a code of “ZZZZ” so that it can be easily distinguished from all other geographies.
  • No Usual Address - used to code people with no fixed residential address.

Special purpose coding structure

The following examples show the special purpose code structure for Mesh Blocks in NSW.

Migratory, Offshore and Shipping example
S/TMesh BlocksDescription
18000000778MIGRATORY
19000000779OFFSHORE
17000005777SHIPPING
17000004777SHIPPING
17000003777SHIPPING
17000002777SHIPPING
17000001777SHIPPING

 

No Usual Address example
S/TMesh BlocksDescription
10000009499No Usual Address

 

Outside Australia example
S/TMesh BlocksDescription
ZZZZZZZZZZZOutside Australia

 

Collection specific coding conventions

ABS collections use various conventions to denote circumstances such as: not applicable, and overseas visitors.

Changes from the previous edition of the ASGS

Overall, the Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) provides high stability and good statistical comparability to ASGS 2016. Changes to Mesh Blocks, Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) and Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) mainly reflect population growth, largely on the edge of urban areas. In this edition there are no major changes to Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s), Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s), or GCCSAs.

All boundaries have been aligned with updated state and territory borders. Figure 2 shows an example of this type of change. There may also be other alignment changes to align with source data. These are very minor differences in cartographic representations to the ASGS boundaries and are not considered significant.

Figure 2 - Example of Mesh Block change along the Qld/NSW border

This image shows how 2016 Mesh Blocks have been realigned to match updated state and territory borders.
This figure shows aerial imagery of a section of the Queensland/New South Wales state border with three different sets of boundaries. The white boundaries show 2016 Mesh Blocks. The blue boundaries show Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks. The black dotted line is the up to date state and territory borders. The Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Block boundaries match the up to date state and territory borders while the 2016 Mesh Blocks do not.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

State Border source: Geoscience Australia

Alignment shifts for state and territory borders will be evident in area correspondences between ASGS Edition 3 and previous ASGS editions. However, most population based correspondences will not be affected as alignment has not affected any dwellings.

When analysing population data, ASGS Edition 3 can be successfully compared to previous editions of the ASGS for time series. There may be some cases, for example when using environmental data, where alignment changes will need to be considered.

Significant changes

Alterations to Mesh Blocks, SA1s and SA2s are made, primarily through splitting areas, to mirror changes occurring on the ground, such as new housing developments or altered transport infrastructure. These changes reflect recent population growth, and allow users to access meaningful statistics on communities of interest. The resulting net increase in numbers of Mesh Blocks, SA1s and SA2s is shown below.

Net increase to Main Structure
 Mesh BlockSA1SA2
ASGS 2016358,12257,5232,310
ASGS Edition 3 (2021)368,28661,8452,473
Net increase10,1644,322163
Percentage increase2.8%7.5%7%

 

The number of both Mesh Blocks and SA1s has increased, by 2.8% and 7.5% respectively. A relatively small number have changed; 1% of Mesh Blocks and 4% of SA1s changed since ASGS Edition 2 (2016), as shown in Figure 3. This very small amount of change is mainly due to splitting large areas in growth areas into two or more smaller areas.

Changes to SA2s are similar, with an increase of 7% for ASGS Edition 3. Only 8% of 2016 SA2s changed as shown in Figure 2. These changes were made to improve data accessibility and reflect high growth, particularly in some inner city SA2s which were previously close to the 25,000 person threshold.

The only changes to the boundaries for SA3s, SA4s and GCCSAs are minor alignment changes. A net increase of 1 for SA3s, SA4s and GCCSAs is due to the creation of a new Outside Australia special purpose code.

Reasons for change

The boundaries for a region have not changed unless they no longer met the design criteria.

The following principles apply to Main Structure and GCCSA design:

  • Where possible, changes are accommodated by simple splits of existing regions.
  • Where a simple split is not possible, they are based on merges and redistribution of whole regions from the next level down in the hierarchy.
  • Regions are designed with a view to them remaining stable.
  • Minor boundary alignment changes are made to maintain alignment to the underlying State and Territory boundaries, and source data for physical infrastructure and physical geography.

Types of change

Splits

In accordance with these principles most of the change in ASGS Edition 3 is the result of simple splits. Figures 4a and 4b show an example of one large Mesh Block that was split into 176 smaller Mesh Blocks. This kind of design is typical for growth areas on the edge of large cities. Figures 5a and 5b show a similar design process where two large SA2s have been split into 6 smaller SA2s.

Figure 4a - 2016 Mesh Blocks in Mickleham - Yuroke

This image shows a large 2016 Mesh Block where there has been significant population growth.
This image is part 1 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks for the same geographic area to show how simple splits have been used to create new Mesh Blocks in growth areas.

The picture shows aerial imagery overlaid with 2016 Mesh Blocks. There is one Mesh Block covering a large area. The imagery shows a large area that has been developed with new roads and houses.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Figure 4b - Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks in Mickleham - Yuroke

This image shows many new small Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks where there has been significant population growth.
This image is part 2 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks for the same geographic area to show how simple splits have been used to create new Mesh Blocks in growth areas.

The picture shows aerial imagery overlaid with Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks. There are 176 Mesh Blocks that have been split from one 2016 Mesh Block covering the same area.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Figure 5a - 2016 SA2s in Riverstone - Marsden Park (NSW)

This image shows three 2016 Statistical Areas Level 2 in Sydney prior to being split in Edition 3.
This image is part 1 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) for the same geographic area to show how SA2s have been split in high growth areas.

The picture shows aerial imagery of a region of Sydney overlaid with 2016 SA2 boundaries showing three large areas in Sydney prior to being split in Edition 3. The largest is called Riverstone – Marsden Park.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Figure 5b - Edition 3 (2021) SA2s in Riverstone - Marsden Park (NSW)

This image shows seven 2021 Statistical Areas Level 2 in Sydney after being split in Edition 3, reflecting new emerging suburbs.
This image is part 2 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) for the same geographic area to show how SA2s have been split in high growth areas.

The picture shows aerial imagery of a region of Sydney overlaid with Edition 3 (2021) SA2 boundaries showing seven smaller areas. New areas have been created to reflect new, intensive urban growth. For example Riverstone – Marsden Park has been split into four new areas reflecting existing suburbs. They are called Riverstone, Marsden Park – Shanes Park, Schofields (West) - Colebee and Schofields – East.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Merges

Merges were minimised in ASGS Edition 3. Where necessary, boundaries were merged to avoid cutting through existing infrastructure or a new growth area. Figures 6a and 6b show an example of two Mesh Blocks that have been merged together to ensure two halves of a showground can be address coded more accurately.

Figure 6a - 2016 Mesh Blocks in Claremont (WA)

This image shows that in 2016, some Mesh Blocks intersected infrastructure or dwellings. These Mesh Blocks have been altered in Edition 3.
This image is part 1 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks for the same geographic area to show how simple merges have been used in ASGS design for Edition 3.

This picture shows aerial imagery of the Claremont showgrounds in Western Australia overlaid with 2016 Mesh Blocks. There is a Mesh Block boundary that cuts through the middle of several buildings.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Figure 6b - 2021 Mesh Block in Claremont (WA)

This image shows that in Edition 3, Mesh Blocks that intersected infrastructure or dwellings have been merged to improve address coding accuracy.
This image is part 2 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks for the same geographic area to show how simple merges have been used in ASGS design for Edition 3.

This picture shows aerial imagery of the Claremont showgrounds in Western Australia overlaid with Edition 3 (2021) Mesh Blocks. The previous 2016 Mesh Blocks have been merged together so that the whole showground is represented by only one Mesh Block.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Redesign

In some circumstances, simple splits and merges are not enough to account for growth and change on the ground. Where 2016 boundaries had to be both merged and split, areas are considered ‘redesigned’. This typically occurs in high growth areas where old features on the ground have been replaced by new development.

Figures 7a and 7b show an example of SA1 redesign on the edge of Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. The 2016 SA1 boundary followed an old suburb boundary which has since been revised to accommodate new housing developments. The original areas were merged and then split into new SA1s. Redesigning boundaries in this way has minimal effect on the comparability of data over time as in previous editions of the ASGS, growth areas generally contained little or no population.

Figure 7a - 2016 SA1s in Caloundra

This image shows that in 2016, some Statistical Areas Level 1 cut through areas that have since been developed.
This image is part 1 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) for the same geographic area in Caloundra to show how redesign has occurred in high growth areas.

This picture shows aerial imagery of an outer area of Caloundra in Queensland. The 2016 SA1 boundary cuts through a large area of new residential development.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Figure 7b - Edition 3 (2021) SA1s in Caloundra

This image shows that in Edition 3 (2021), some Statistical Areas Level 1 have been redesigned to avoid crossing through new residential development.
This image is part 2 of a comparison between 2016 and Edition 3 (2021) Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) for the same geographic area in Caloundra to show how redesign has occurred in high growth areas.

This picture shows aerial imagery of an outer area of Caloundra in Queensland. The Edition 3 (2021) SA1 boundary has been redesigned to avoid crossing through houses and the new boundaries now appropriately include the urban area.

World imagery source: Esri, Digital Globe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community.

Alignment

Alignment refers to small area changes that do not affect population. This type of change will be evident in area based correspondences between ASGS Edition 3 and other ASGS editions, but will not affect population based correspondences. Unlike other boundary changes, alignment does not trigger a code change.

In this edition the most significant alignment occurred along state and territory borders. All Mesh Blocks next to state borders were aligned to the official state land borders released by Geoscience Australia in 2020. These official state land borders are endorsed by the Surveyors General of each state and territory, the Spatial Information Council (ANZLIC) and the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM). These changes will help ensure geospatial comparability to other State and Federal Government datasets. Future updates to state borders and the coastline, as agreed by the Surveyors General, ANZLIC and ICSM, will be adopted where applicable in future editions of the ASGS.

Changes to ASGS codes

The codes and names associated with statistical areas change when an area is split, merged, or redesigned.

Changes in higher level statistical areas also result in code changes to the lower level regions contained within, except for Mesh Blocks as these are the building blocks. The smaller area may also be split, merged, redesigned, or may remain unchanged. This is due to the hierarchical coding system.

Alignment changes do not result in code or name changes at any level.

For more information on the ASGS code changes please refer to the tables below in the list of changes section. 

Identifying change

The ABS provides several resources to help users understand changes to boundaries and codes, and to help them manage the transformation of data across different ASGS editions and other geographies. These resources include ABS Maps, various correspondences and the list of changes section. 

In ASGS Edition 3, change flags have been included on all Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical boundaries as an attribute. This attribute informs users whether an area has changed since ASGS 2016 and what the nature of that change is.

Change flag descriptions
CHANGE_FLAG_2021CHANGE_LABEL_2021Description
0No changeBoundary remains the same as 2016. Code and name (if applicable) remain the same. Some of these areas will have minor alignment adjustments. They have been recorded as no change because no population has been affected and the primary land use has also been maintained.
1NewA new, or redesigned, area for ASGS for Edition 3. This feature has a new code and name (where applicable). In some instances with significant SA2 change, the 2016 name is maintained as it continues to accurately describe the area or locality. To understand changes at the SA2 level, both codes and names should always be used together.
2Code changeThe Edition 3 code has changed due to a code change at a higher level of the ASGS. However, there has been no change to the boundary and direct comparison can be made with ASGS 2016.
3Name changeAn Edition 3 (2021) area has been re-named to reflect the local area it represents and/or fix name and spelling errors. In these cases, no code change has occurred. There has also been no change to the boundary.

 

List of changes

SA3 changes from 2016
SA3 Label changes
From (2016): To (Edition 3): 
80111 Urriarra - Namadgi80111 Uriarra - Namadgi
SA2 splits from 2016
SA2 splits
From (2016): To (Edition 3): 
101021011 Queanbeyan Region101021610 Googong
 101021611 Queanbeyan Surrounds
103011058 Bathurst103011612 Bathurst - South
 103011613 Bathurst - West
106021117 Maitland - West106021615 Rutherford (North) - Aberglasslyn
 106021616 Rutherford (South) - Telarah
108041163 Port Macquarie - East108041619 Port Macquarie - East
 108041620 Port Macquarie - South
116021310 Parklea - Kellyville Ridge116021628 Kellyville Ridge - The Ponds
 116021633 Stanhope Gardens - Parklea
116021312 Riverstone - Marsden Park116021629 Marsden Park - Shanes Park
 116021632 Schofields - East
 116021630 Riverstone
 116021631 Schofields (West) - Colebee
117011322 Mascot - Eastlakes117011634 Eastlakes
 117011635 Mascot
117021326 Marrickville117021637 Marrickville - South
 117021636 Marrickville - North
117031332 Newtown - Camperdown - Darlington117031640 Newtown (NSW)
 117031638 Camperdown - Darlington
117031334 Pyrmont - Ultimo117031641 Pyrmont
 117031646 Ultimo
117031335 Redfern - Chippendale117031642 Redfern
 117031639 Chippendale
117031337 Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks117031645 Sydney (South) - Haymarket
 117031644 Sydney (North) - Millers Point
117031338 Waterloo - Beaconsfield117031643 Rosebery - Beaconsfield
 117031648 Zetland
 117031647 Waterloo
118011343 Double Bay - Bellevue Hill118011649 Bellevue Hill
 118011650 Double Bay - Darling Point
118021348 Coogee - Clovelly118021654 South Coogee
 118021651 Coogee - Clovelly
118021350 Malabar - La Perouse - Chifley118021653 Matraville - Chifley
 118021652 Malabar - La Perouse
119011357 Greenacre - Mount Lewis119011655 Greenacre - North
 119011656 Greenacre - South
119011359 Panania - Milperra - Picnic Point119011657 Panania (North) - Milperra
 119011658 Panania (South) - Picnic Point
119021363 Canterbury (South) - Campsie119021661 Canterbury - South
 119021659 Campsie - North
 119021660 Campsie - South
119021364 Kingsgrove (North) - Earlwood119021663 Kingsgrove - North
 119021662 Earlwood
119031368 Hurstville119031664 Hurstville - Central
 119031665 Hurstville - North
119031369 Mortdale - Penshurst119031666 Mortdale - Oatley
 119031667 Penshurst
119041375 Arncliffe - Bardwell Valley119041668 Arncliffe - Bardwell Valley
 119041671 Wolli Creek
119041376 Bexley119041670 Bexley - South
 119041669 Bexley - North
120011384 Concord West - North Strathfield120011673 Rhodes
 120011672 Concord West - North Strathfield
120021388 Leichhardt - Annandale120021674 Annandale (NSW)
 120021675 Leichhardt
120031390 Ashfield120031677 Ashfield - South
 120031676 Ashfield - North
120031391 Burwood - Croydon120031679 Croydon
 120031678 Burwood (NSW)
120031575 Strathfield120031681 Strathfield - West
 120031680 Strathfield - East
121011398 Chatswood (East) - Artarmon121011684 Chatswood - East
 121011682 Artarmon
121011400 Lane Cove - Greenwich121011686 Lane Cove
 121011685 Greenwich - Riverview
121011402 Willoughby - Castle Cove - Northbridge121011683 Castle Cove - Northbridge
 121011687 Willoughby
121041415 Mosman121041689 Mosman - South
 121041688 Mosman - North
122021423 Warriewood - Mona Vale122021691 North Narrabeen - Warriewood (South)
 122021690 Mona Vale - Warriewood (North)
122031426 Dee Why - North Curl Curl122031695 Dee Why - North
 122031694 Dee Why (South) - North Curl Curl
122031428 Frenchs Forest - Belrose122031696 Frenchs Forest - Oxford Falls
 122031692 Belrose
122031431 Narrabeen - Collaroy122031693 Collaroy - Collaroy Plateau
 122031697 Narrabeen - Wheeler Heights
123011434 Elderslie - Harrington Park123011700 Harrington Park
 123011699 Elderslie - Narellan
123011435 Mount Annan - Currans Hill123011701 Mount Annan
 123011702 Spring Farm
 123011698 Currans Hill
123021442 Macquarie Fields - Glenfield123021704 Glenfield
 123021706 Macquarie Fields
124031458 Castlereagh - Cranebrook124031708 Jordan Springs - Llandilo
 124031707 Cranebrook - Castlereagh
125011473 Homebush Bay - Silverwater125011710 Wentworth Point - Sydney Olympic Park
 125011709 Silverwater - Newington
125021476 Carlingford125021712 Carlingford - West
 125021711 Carlingford - East
125031485 Merrylands - Holroyd125031714 Merrylands - Holroyd
 125031716 South Wentworthville
125041492 Parramatta - Rosehill125041717 Parramatta - North
 125041718 Parramatta - South
 125041719 Rosehill - Harris Park
126011495 Epping - North Epping126011720 Epping (East) - North Epping
 126011721 Epping (NSW) - West
126021497 Eastwood - Denistone126021722 Denistone
 126021723 Eastwood
126021591 Ryde126021724 Ryde - North
 126021725 Ryde - South
127031598 Liverpool127031731 Liverpool - East
 127031732 Liverpool - West
201011003 Ballarat - North201011481 Ballarat East - Warrenheip
 201011482 Ballarat North - Invermay
201011004 Ballarat - South201011483 Canadian - Mount Clear
 201011484 Sebastopol - Redan
203021038 Corio - Norlane203021486 Corio - Lovely Banks
 203021488 Norlane
203021041 Grovedale203021485 Charlemont
 203021487 Grovedale - Mount Duneed
203031050 Ocean Grove - Barwon Heads203031489 Barwon Heads - Armstrong Creek
 203031490 Ocean Grove
204031074 Wodonga204031491 Baranduda - Leneva
 204031492 Wodonga
205041097 Traralgon205041493 Traralgon - East
 205041494 Traralgon - West
206011105 Brunswick206011495 Brunswick - North
 206011496 Brunswick - South
206011108 Coburg206011497 Coburg - East
 206011498 Coburg - West
206021111 Northcote206021499 Northcote - East
 206021500 Northcote - West
206031114 Essendon - Aberfeldie206031501 Essendon (West) - Aberfeldie
 206031502 Essendon - East
206041122 Melbourne206041503 Melbourne CBD - East
 206041504 Melbourne CBD - North
 206041505 Melbourne CBD - West
206041123 North Melbourne206041506 North Melbourne
 206041510 West Melbourne - Residential
206051133 St Kilda206051513 St Kilda - Central
 206051514 St Kilda - West
206061137 South Yarra - East206061515 South Yarra - North
 206061516 South Yarra - South
206071144 Richmond (Vic.)206071517 Richmond (South) - Cremorne
 206071518 Richmond - North
207011151 Hawthorn207011519 Hawthorn - North
 207011520 Hawthorn - South
207011153 Kew207011521 Kew - South
 207011522 Kew - West
209021207 Reservoir - East209021523 Reservoir - North East
 209021525 Reservoir - South East
209021208 Reservoir - West209021524 Reservoir - North West
 209021526 Reservoir - South West
209041219 Lalor209041529 Lalor - East
 209041530 Lalor - West
209041430 Doreen209041527 Doreen - North
 209041528 Doreen - South
209041434 Mernda209041531 Mernda - North
 209041532 Mernda - South
210011229 Keilor East210011533 Avondale Heights
 210011534 Keilor East
210031239 Pascoe Vale210031537 Oak Park
 210031538 Pascoe Vale
210031438 Glenroy210031535 Glenroy - East
 210031536 Glenroy - West
210041241 Sunbury - South210041539 Diggers Rest
 210041540 Sunbury - South
 210041541 Sunbury - West
210051249 Roxburgh Park - Somerton210051544 Roxburgh Park (South) - Somerton
 210051545 Roxburgh Park - North
212021294 Berwick - South212021553 Berwick - South East
 212021554 Berwick - South West
212031301 Cranbourne East212031555 Clyde North - North
 212031556 Clyde North - South
 212031557 Cranbourne East - North
 212031558 Cranbourne East - South
212031302 Cranbourne North212031559 Cranbourne North - East
 212031560 Cranbourne North - West
212031305 Hampton Park - Lynbrook212031561 Hampton Park - East
 212031562 Hampton Park - West
212041311 Dandenong212041563 Dandenong - North
 212041564 Dandenong - South
212041314 Keysborough212041565 Keysborough - North
 212041566 Keysborough - South
212051320 Clayton212051567 Clayton (North) - Notting Hill
 212051568 Clayton - Central
213011330 Deer Park - Derrimut213011569 Deer Park
 213011570 Derrimut
213041355 Hillside213041574 Fraser Rise - Plumpton
 213041575 Hillside
213041356 Melton213041576 Kurunjang - Toolern Vale
 213041577 Melton
213041357 Melton South213041571 Brookfield
 213041572 Cobblebank - Strathtulloh
 213041573 Eynesbury - Exford
 213041578 Melton South - Weir Views
213051365 Tarneit213051582 Tarneit (West) - Mount Cottrell
 213051583 Tarneit - Central
 213051584 Tarneit - North
 213051585 Tarneit - South
213051366 Truganina213051586 Truganina - North
 213051587 Truganina - South East
 213051588 Truganina - South West
213051369 Wyndham Vale213051579 Manor Lakes - Quandong
 213051589 Wyndham Vale - North
 213051590 Wyndham Vale - South
213051465 Point Cook - North213051580 Point Cook - North East
 213051581 Point Cook - North West
214021380 Mornington214021591 Mornington - East
 214021592 Mornington - West
216031417 Shepparton - South216031593 Kialla
 216031594 Shepparton - South East
301021527 Redland Islands301021550 North Stradbroke Island
 301021551 Southern Moreton Bay Islands
309071255 Ormeau - Yatala309071552 Ormeau (East) - Stapylton
 309071553 Ormeau (West) - Yatala
309081261 Robina309081559 Robina - East
 309081560 Robina - West
309101270 Surfers Paradise309101561 Surfers Paradise - North
 309101562 Surfers Paradise - South
310011273 Forest Lake - Doolandella310011563 Doolandella
 310011564 Forest Lake - Ellen Grove
310041296 Bellbird Park - Brookwater310041565 Augustine Heights - Brookwater
 310041566 Bellbird Park
311041320 Greenbank311041568 Flagstone (West) - New Beith
 311041569 Greenbank - North Maclean
311041321 Jimboomba311041567 Flagstone (East) - Riverbend
 311041570 Jimboomba - Glenlogan
 311041571 Yarrabilba
313021365 Caboolture313021572 Caboolture - East
 313021573 Caboolture - West
313051542 Scarborough - Newport - Moreton Island313051574 Moreton Island
 313051575 Scarborough - Newport
314021388 Dakabin - Kallangur314021576 Dakabin
 314021577 Kallangur
314021390 North Lakes - Mango Hill314021578 Mango Hill
 314021579 North Lakes
318021473 Deeragun318021582 Burdell - Mount Low
 318021583 Deeragun - Jensen
402031037 Northgate - Oakden - Gilles Plains402031175 Northgate - Northfield
 402031176 Valley View - Gilles Plains
403041087 Seaford (SA)403041177 Seaford - Seaford Meadows
 403041178 Seaford Rise - Moana
501011002 Busselton501011293 Busselton - East
 501011294 Busselton - West
503021041 Perth City503021295 East Perth
 503021296 Perth (North) - Highgate
 503021297 Perth (West) - Northbridge
504031059 Ellenbrook504031298 Aveley
 504031299 Brabham - Henley Brook
 504031300 Ellenbrook
505021086 Dianella505021301 Dianella - North
 505021302 Dianella - South
505031103 Madeley - Darch - Landsdale505031304 Landsdale
 505031305 Madeley - Darch
505031108 Wanneroo505031303 Hocking - Pearsall
 505031306 Wanneroo - Sinagra
506011113 Forrestdale - Harrisdale - Piara Waters506011307 Harrisdale
 506011308 Piara Waters - Forrestdale
506021122 Rivervale - Kewdale - Cloverdale506021309 Cloverdale
 506021310 Kewdale
 506021311 Rivervale
507051185 Baldivis507051312 Baldivis - North
 507051313 Baldivis - South
 507051314 Karnup
801011112 West Belconnen801011142 Macnamara
 801011143 Strathnairn
 801011144 West Belconnen
801101138 Molonglo - North801101145 Molonglo - East
 801101146 Whitlam
SA2 redesign from 2016
SA2 redesign
From (2016): To (Edition 3): 
106021115 Maitland - East106021614 East Maitland - Metford
 106021617 Tenambit - East Maitland
106021118 Thornton - Millers Forest106021618 Thornton - Millers Forest
115011559 Kellyville115011621 Kellyville - East
 115011622 Kellyville - West
115041302 Rouse Hill - Beaumont Hills115041623 Box Hill - Nelson
 115041624 North Kellyville
 115041625 Rouse Hill - Beaumont Hills
116011308 Seven Hills - Toongabbie116011626 Seven Hills - Prospect
 116011627 Toongabbie - West
123021440 Ingleburn - Denham Court123021703 Denham Court - Bardia
 123021705 Ingleburn
125031482 Greystanes - Pemulwuy125031713 Greystanes - South
 125031715 Pemulwuy - Greystanes (North)
127011506 Cobbitty - Leppington127011726 Cobbitty - Bringelly
 127011727 Gledswood Hills - Gregory Hills
 127011728 Leppington - Catherine Field
 127011729 Oran Park
127031600 Prestons - Edmondson Park127031730 Edmondson Park
 127031733 Prestons
206041126 Southbank206041507 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
 206041508 Southbank (West) - South Wharf
 206041509 Southbank - East
206051131 Port Melbourne Industrial206051511 Port Melbourne Industrial
206051132 South Melbourne206051512 South Melbourne
210051444 Craigieburn - West210051542 Craigieburn - North West
 210051543 Craigieburn - West
212011287 Beaconsfield - Officer212011546 Beaconsfield - Officer
212011288 Bunyip - Garfield212011547 Bunyip - Garfield
212011290 Koo Wee Rup212011548 Koo Wee Rup
212011291 Pakenham - North212011549 Pakenham - North East
 212011550 Pakenham - North West
 212011551 Pakenham - South East
 212011552 Pakenham - South West
309071257 Pimpama309071554 Pimpama - North
 309071555 Pimpama - South
309071258 Upper Coomera - Willow Vale309071556 Upper Coomera (South) - Wongawallan
 309071557 Upper Coomera - North
 309071558 Willow Vale - Pimpama (West)
316021420 Caloundra - West316021580 Caloundra West - Baringa
 316021581 Meridan Plains - Little Mountain (North)
SA2 label changes from 2016
SA2 label change
From (2016): To (Edition 3): 
101031015 Cooma Region101031015 Cooma Surrounds
101051540 Goulburn Region101051540 Goulburn Surrounds
101061542 Yass Region101061542 Yass Surrounds
101061544 Young Region101061544 Young Surrounds
103011060 Bathurst Region103011060 Bathurst Surrounds
103021064 Cowra Region103021064 Cowra Surrounds
103021068 Parkes Region103021068 Parkes Surrounds
103031071 Lithgow Region103031071 Lithgow Surrounds
103031073 Mudgee Region - East103031073 Mudgee Surrounds - East
103031074 Mudgee Region - West103031074 Mudgee Surrounds - West
103041079 Orange Region103041079 Orange Surrounds
104011081 Grafton Region104011081 Grafton Surrounds
105031103 Dubbo Region105031103 Dubbo Surrounds
106011109 Cessnock Region106011109 Cessnock Surrounds
106011113 Singleton Region106011113 Singleton Surrounds
106041127 Muswellbrook Region106041127 Muswellbrook Surrounds
106041129 Scone Region106041129 Scone Surrounds
108011153 Forster-Tuncurry Region108011153 Forster-Tuncurry Surrounds
108021156 Kempsey Region108021156 Kempsey Surrounds
108021159 Nambucca Heads Region108021159 Nambucca Heads Surrounds
108041165 Port Macquarie Region108041165 Port Macquarie Surrounds
108051170 Taree Region108051170 Taree Surrounds
109011175 Albury Region109011175 Albury Surrounds
109031181 Corowa Region109031181 Corowa Surrounds
109031183 Deniliquin Region109031183 Deniliquin Surrounds
110011187 Armidale Region - North110011187 Armidale Surrounds - North
110011188 Armidale Region - South110011188 Armidale Surrounds - South
110021192 Inverell Region - East110021192 Inverell Surrounds - East
110021193 Inverell Region - West110021193 Inverell Surrounds - West
110031196 Moree Region110031196 Moree Surrounds
110031198 Narrabri Region110031198 Narrabri Surrounds
110041200 Gunnedah Region110041200 Gunnedah Surrounds
110041205 Tamworth Region110041205 Tamworth Surrounds
112011237 Ballina Region112011237 Ballina Surrounds
112021245 Casino Region112021245 Casino Surrounds
112021249 Lismore Region112021249 Lismore Surrounds
112031252 Murwillumbah Region112031252 Murwillumbah Surrounds
112031551 Terranora - North Tumblegum112031551 Terranora - North Tumbulgum
113011257 Griffith Region113011257 Griffith Surrounds
113021262 Tumut Region113021262 Tumut Surrounds
113031271 Wagga Wagga Region113031271 Wagga Wagga Surrounds
114011283 Ulladulla Region114011283 Ulladulla Surrounds
115011290 Baulkham Hills (East)115011290 Baulkham Hills - East
116011560 Blacktown (South)116011560 Blacktown - South
116011561 Blacktown (West)116011561 Blacktown - West
121021579 Waitara - Wahroonga (West)121021579 Wahroonga (West) - Waitara
128011606 Woolaware - Burraneer128011606 Woolooware - Burraneer
201021009 Bacchus Marsh Region201021009 Bacchus Marsh Surrounds
201031017 Maryborough Region201031017 Maryborough Surrounds
202021026 Bendigo Region - South202021026 Bendigo Surrounds - South
202021028 Castlemaine Region202021028 Castlemaine Surrounds
202031032 Bendigo Region - North202031032 Bendigo Surrounds - North
204011060 Seymour Region204011060 Seymour Surrounds
204021064 Benalla Region204021064 Benalla Surrounds
204021067 Wangaratta Region204021067 Wangaratta Surrounds
206041127 West Melbourne206041127 West Melbourne - Industrial
206071145 Yarra - North206071145 Clifton Hill - Alphington
207021424 Doncaster East (North)207021424 Doncaster East - North
207021425 Doncaster East (South)207021425 Doncaster East - South
207031165 Burwood207031165 Burwood (Vic.)
208011171 Cheltenham - Highett (West)208011171 Highett (West) - Cheltenham
208021426 Bentleigh East (North)208021426 Bentleigh East - North
208021427 Bentleigh East (South)208021427 Bentleigh East - South
208031188 Cheltenham - Highett (East)208031188 Highett (East) - Cheltenham 
209041433 Epping - West209041433 Epping (Vic.) - West
209041435 South Morang (North)209041435 South Morang - North
209041436 South Morang (South)209041436 South Morang - South
211011447 Ferntree Gully (North)211011447 Ferntree Gully - North
212031457 Narre Warren South (East)212031457 Narre Warren South - East
212031458 Narre Warren South (West)212031458 Narre Warren South - West
215011387 Ararat Region215011387 Ararat Surrounds
215011389 Horsham Region215011389 Horsham Surrounds
215021398 Mildura Region215021398 Mildura Surrounds
215031405 Swan Hill Region215031405 Swan Hill Surrounds
216031418 Shepparton Region - East216031418 Shepparton Surrounds - East
216031419 Shepparton Region - West216031419 Shepparton Surrounds - West
217031473 Colac Region217031473 Colac Surrounds
307011177 Roma Region307011177 Roma Surrounds
307031188 Stanthorpe Region307031188 Stanthorpe Surrounds
308031218 Rockhampton Region - East308031218 Rockhampton Surrounds - East
308031219 Rockhampton Region - North308031219 Rockhampton Surrounds - North
308031220 Rockhampton Region - West308031220 Rockhampton Surrounds - West
311061330 Kingston (Qld.)311061330 Kingston (Qld)
318011465 Ingham Region318011465 Ingham Surrounds
318021468 Annandale318021468 Annandale (Qld)
319011498 Bundaberg Region - North319011498 Bundaberg Surrounds - North
319011499 Bundaberg Region - South319011499 Bundaberg Surrounds - South
319021506 Kingaroy Region - North319021506 Kingaroy Surrounds - North
319021507 Kingaroy Region - South319021507 Kingaroy Surrounds - South
319031514 Gympie Region319031514 Gympie Surrounds
319051525 Maryborough Region - South319051525 Maryborough Surrounds - South
401021008 Mount Barker Region401021008 Mount Barker Surrounds
401031012 Glenside - Beaumont401031012 Beaumont - Glen Osmond
405031123 Port Pirie Region405031123 Port Pirie Surrounds
407011147 Strathalbyn Region407011147 Strathalbyn Surrounds
407021155 Naracoorte Region407021155 Naracoorte Surrounds
407031163 Loxton Region407031163 Loxton Surrounds
407031166 Murray Bridge Region407031166 Murray Bridge Surrounds
407031168 Renmark Region407031168 Renmark Surrounds
501011003 Busselton Region501011003 Busselton Surrounds
507031169 Bertram - Wellard (West)507031169 Wellard (West) - Bertram
509011226 Albany Region509011226 Albany Surrounds
511011275 Esperance Region511011275 Esperance Surrounds
604011076 Burnie - Ulverstone Region604011076 Burnie - Ulverstone Surrounds

Remoteness Structure

Remoteness Areas divide Australia and the States and Territories into 5 classes of remoteness on the basis of relative access to services. Remoteness Areas are based on the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), produced by the Hugo Centre for Population and Migration Studies. Remoteness Areas are aggregates of SA1s that are grouped together based on their average ARIA+ score.

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3 Remoteness Structure will be released in early 2023.

The most current version of the Remoteness Structure is from ASGS 2016 - 1270.0.55.005 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016.

For information on how the Remoteness Structure relates to the whole ASGS, refer to the ASGS diagram.

Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State

This structure provides classifications of urban areas within Australia for the purpose of statistical analysis. The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) classifies urban areas in several different ways to make a wide range of statistical data available for this important geographic measure.

  • Significant Urban Areas (SUAs) represent individual Urban Centres or clusters of related Urban Centres with a core urban population over 10,000 people.
  • Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs) are aggregations of SA1s which meet population density criteria or contain other urban infrastructure.
  • Section of State (SOS) groups the UCLs into classes of urban areas based on population size, and the remainder is considered to be rural.
  • Section of State Range (SOSR) provides a more detailed classification than SOS. This enables statistical comparison of differently sized Urban Centres and rural areas.

The ASGS Edition 3 Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of State will be released in late 2022.

The most current version of Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of State is from ASGS 2016 - 1270.0.55.004 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, July 2016.

For information on how Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of State relate to the whole ASGS, refer to the ASGS diagram.

Indigenous Structure

The Indigenous Structure is a geographical standard for the publication and analysis of statistics about the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

The ABS is committed to improving the quality and comprehensiveness of data available about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. This update to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific geography enhances the interpretability of information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly at lower levels of the geography structure.

The structure has 3 hierarchical levels listed below from smallest to largest:

  • Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) represent small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (urban and rural) with a minimum population of about 90 people.
  • Indigenous Areas (IAREs) are medium sized geographical areas designed to facilitate the release of more detailed statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Indigenous Regions (IREGs) are large geographical areas based on historical boundaries. The larger population of Indigenous Regions enables highly detailed analysis.

Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) aggregate to Indigenous Locations which aggregate to Indigenous Areas, and they in turn aggregate to Indigenous Regions. At each hierarchical level, all of Geographic Australia is covered without gaps or overlaps.

The boundaries in the Indigenous Structure are built from whole SA1s. SA1s are designed with reference to language groups, information from people with local knowledge of certain communities, and transport networks to identify both remote and non-remote discrete communities and urban areas with a high usual resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. 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.

Summary of Indigenous Structure units

Region

NSW

Vic.

Qld

SA

WA

Tas.

NT

ACT

OT(a)

Aust.

Total(b)

IREG

9

4

10

5

10

3

9

3

5

58

59

IARE

109

41

87

34

71

13

64

5

6

430

431

ILOC

294

91

206

89

218

36

189

8

7

1,138

1,139

(a) Other Territories (OT) includes the territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island.

(b) Includes one new record for the Outside Australia special purpose code. Migratory - Offshore - Shipping and No usual address special purpose codes are included in State and Territory counts.

For information on how the Indigenous Structure relates to the whole ASGS, refer to the ASGS diagram.

Indigenous Locations

Indigenous Locations (ILOCs) are geographic areas built from whole Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s). Indigenous Locations are designed to represent small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (urban and rural) that are near each other or that share language, traditional borders or Native Title. They usually have a minimum population of about 90 people. In some cases, Indigenous Locations have a smaller Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population to meet statistical requirements or to better represent the local community. Whole Indigenous Locations aggregate to form Indigenous Areas.

There are 1,139 Indigenous Locations covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code; more information on these can be found in the special purpose codes section.

The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by individual Indigenous Locations. Jervis Bay is represented by two Indigenous Locations covering Jervis Bay (exc. Wreck Bay) and Wreck Bay separately.

ILOC design criteria

Indigenous Locations are designed to allow the production and analysis of statistics relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a high level of spatial accuracy, while also maintaining the confidentiality of individuals. Changes to Indigenous Locations are determined through consultation undertaken by the ABS Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, and incorporate statistical and community requirements wherever possible.

The key aim of Indigenous Location design is to identify and distinguish between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, both in urban and rural settings. Where a community is too small for confidentiality requirements, it is combined with another, related population. Remaining Statistical Areas Level 1 are combined into larger areas, which will include a more dispersed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

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 multi-part Indigenous Locations where related communities are represented as a single Indigenous Location but are geographically separate. This enables the release of Census of Population and Housing data and other data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in a meaningful way, while balancing confidentiality and statistical requirements.  

ILOC name criteria

The key criteria for Indigenous Location names are that they be:

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other Indigenous Location in Australia.

Indigenous Locations are named according to the areas they represent.

  • Where an Indigenous Location represents a well-known community it is named after that community, for example 30901102 Wujal Wujal.
  • Where an Indigenous Location represents more than one community it is named with a combination of up to three distinct community names, for example 50800501 Burawa - Darlngunaya - Bungardi.
  • Where an Indigenous Location represents a broader region, excluding a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community this is reflected in the name, for example 70500502 Katherine exc. Town Camps.

ILOC coding structure

Indigenous Locations are identified by eight-digit hierarchical codes consisting of a one-digit State or Territory identifier, followed by a two-digit Indigenous Region identifier, a three-digit Indigenous Area identifier and finally a two-digit Indigenous Location identifier, as shown below. Within each Indigenous Area, Indigenous Location identifiers are unique. When change occurs, old codes are retired and the next available identifier is assigned.

Coding structure example for 40101303 Raukkan

S/T

IREG

IARE

ILOC

ILOC Name

4

01

013

03

Raukkan

Indigenous Areas

Indigenous Areas (IAREs) are medium sized geographic areas built from whole Indigenous Locations. They are designed for the release and analysis of more detailed statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Whole Indigenous Areas aggregate to form Indigenous Regions.

There are 431 Indigenous Areas covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code; more information on these can found in the special purpose codes section.

The Other Territories of Jervis Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by individual Indigenous Areas.

IARE design criteria

Indigenous Areas represent larger populations and areas than Indigenous Locations, allowing the release of more detailed population and economic statistics. Changes to Indigenous Areas are determined through consultation with the Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics based on statistical and community requirements.

IARE name criteria

The key criteria for Indigenous Area names are that they be:

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other Indigenous Area in Australia.

Indigenous Areas are named according to the areas they represent.

  • Where an Indigenous Area represents a well-known community it is named after that community, for example 709012 Urapuntja.
  • Where an Indigenous Area represents more than 1 community it is named with a combination of up to three distinct community names, for example 709005 Atitjere - Akarnenehe – Engawala.
  • Where an Indigenous Area represents a broader region, excluding a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community this is reflected in the name, for example 708001 Alice exc. Town Camps.

IARE coding structure

Indigenous Areas are identified by six-digit hierarchical codes consisting of a one-digit State or Territory identifier, followed by a two-digit Indigenous Region identifier and a three-digit Indigenous Area identifier, as shown below. Within each Indigenous Region, Indigenous Area identifiers are unique. When change occurs, old codes are retired and the next available identifier is assigned.

Coding structure example for 506003 Karratha

S/T

IREG

IARE

IARE Name

5

06

003

Karratha

Indigenous Regions

Indigenous Regions (IREGs) are large geographic areas built from whole Indigenous Areas and are based on historical boundaries. The larger population of Indigenous Regions enables highly detailed analysis.

There are 59 Indigenous Regions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes; more information on these can be found in the special purpose codes section.

The Other Territories of Jervis Bay and Norfolk Island are each represented by individual Indigenous Regions. Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are combined into one Indigenous Region.

IREG design criteria

Indigenous Regions were originally designed based on the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission boundaries which are no longer maintained. They are created by combining one or more Indigenous Areas. Changes to Indigenous Regions are determined through consultation with the ABS Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics based on statistical and community requirements.

IREG name criteria

The key criteria for Indigenous Region names are that they be:

  • meaningful
  • have a maximum of 50 characters
  • unique, that is not shared by any other Indigenous Region in Australia.

Indigenous Regions are named according to the areas they represent.

  • Where an Indigenous Region represents a well known community it is named after that community, for example 703 Darwin.
  • Where an Indigenous Region represents an area with multiple and varied populations it is named after a commonly identified name or combination of names for the area and/or communities it encompasses, for example 309 Cairns - Atherton.
  • Where an Indigenous Region represents a broader region, excluding a specific area this is reflected in the name, for example 202 Victoria exc. Melbourne.

IREG coding structure

Indigenous Regions are identified by three-digit hierarchical codes consisting of a one-digit State or Territory identifier, and a two-digit Indigenous Region identifier, as shown below. Within each State or Territory, Indigenous Region identifiers are unique. When change occurs, old codes are retired and the next available identifier is assigned.

Coding structure example for 304 Mount Isa

S/T

IREG

IREG Name

3

04

Mount Isa

Special purpose codes

In the Indigenous Structure, special purpose codes are non-spatial. In all states and territories, the identifiers 94, 994 and 94 are used respectively for Indigenous Regions, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Locations to represent No usual address. Similarly, the identifiers 97, 997 and 97 are allocated to Migratory – Offshore – Shipping. As for all other ASGS geographies, Z is used to denote Outside Australia. Special purpose codes are described in more detail in the Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas section of this publication.

Coding structure examples for Indigenous Structure special purpose codes

S/T

IREG

IARE

ILOC

ILOC Name

8

94

994

94

No usual address (ACT)

6

97

997

97

Migratory – Offshore – Shipping (Tas.)

Z

ZZ

ZZZ

ZZ

Outside Australia

Changes from the previous edition of the ASGS

Some Indigenous Structure boundaries have been changed on advice from the ABS Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics following consultation undertaken in 2018. Changes in ASGS Edition 3 have been made to resolve known issues and ensure that boundaries meaningfully reflect community groups, whilst balancing data confidentiality requirements.

Significant changes

There were limited changes to the Indigenous Structure for Edition 3 with the most change occurring at the Indigenous Location level. The table below shows the number of areas that have been affected by geometry, code and name changes respectively.

Type of change

ILOC*

IARE*

IREG*

Significant boundary change

53

7

4

Hierarchical code change (no boundary change)

105

42

NA

Name change only

2

0

0

* The addition of Outside Australia is not reflected in these counts. 

Correspondences enabling translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 and how these changes have been applied are available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Reasons for change

Wherever possible, Indigenous Structure boundaries were altered by splitting areas into smaller areas, or merging two areas together. This supports analysis of data over time. Significant changes to boundaries have resulted in code changes, but names may remain the same. When assessing change between 2016 and ASGS Edition 3, it is important to consider both codes and names together. A small number of boundaries have been renamed to fix spelling errors.

Types of change

Description of change

Result

Significant boundary changes where an area has been split into multiple new areas, or a boundary has been significantly redesigned.

New code in all cases and new name if appropriate.

Minor boundary alignment, or change due to underlying Statistical Area Level 1 changes.

Code and name do not change.

Code change at Indigenous Region or Indigenous Area level, but no change at Indigenous Location level.

Code change (due to hierarchical coding structure). Name does not change.

Name changed to fix known spelling or name issue.

Code does not change. Name change only.

List of changes

Indigenous Locations with significant boundary changes

ILOC_CODE_2021

ILOC_NAME_2021

10300204

Barwon Four

10300205

Brewarrina

10300206

Brewarrina - Surrounds

10300207

Goodooga

10300505

Broken Hill - Surrounds

10300506

Wilcannia

10300608

Namoi Reserve

10300609

Walgett - Surrounds

10402203

Lake Macquarie - West

10402302

Wyong - South-West

30100212

Brisbane City - Outer East

30100213

Moreton Bay Islands

30100302

Bribie - Beachmere

30100303

Caboolture

30100304

Narangba - Burpengary

30100702

Broadbeach - Burleigh

30100703

Coolangatta

30100704

Gold Coast - North

30100705

Gold Coast Hinterland

30100706

Mudgeeraba - Tallebudgera

30100707

Nerang

30100708

Ormeau - Oxenford

30100709

Robina

30100710

Southport

30100711

Surfers Paradise

30100802

Ipswich

30100803

Springfield - Redbank

30101402

Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island)

30101403

Redland

30900802

Kowrowa - Mona Mona

30900803

Mantaka

50100207

Broome - Surrounds

50100208

Djarindjin - Lombadina

50300409

Laverton

50300410

Ngaanyatjarraku

50600111

East Pilbara - Surrounds

50600112

Kiwirrkurra - Surrounds

50800501

Burawa - Darlngunaya - Bungardi

50800502

Fitzroy Crossing

50800503

Fitzroy Crossing - Surrounds

50800504

Junjuwa

50800505

Mindi Rardi - Kurnangki - Loanbun

50800604

Outer Derby - West Kimberley

70500308

Bulman

70500309

Weemol

70600704

Ramingining

70600705

Ramingining - Milingimbi Outstations

70800106

Mount Johns

70800205

Inarlenge - Mpwetyerre

70900402

Apatula (Finke) Homelands - East

70900403

Apatula (Finke) Homelands - West

70900801

Kaltukatjara (Docker River)

70900802

Kaltukatjara Outstations

ZZZZZZZZ

Outside Australia

Indigenous Areas with significant boundary changes

IARE_CODE_2021

IARE_NAME_2021

104022

Lake Macquarie

104023

Wyong

508005

Fitzroy Crossing

508006

Outer Derby - West Kimberley

708001

Alice exc. Town Camps

708002

Alice Springs Town Camps

709001

Amoonguna - Santa Teresa - Titjikala

ZZZZZZ

Outside Australia

Indigenous Regions with significant boundary changes

IREG_CODE_2021

IREG_NAME_2021

309

Cairns - Atherton

310

Townsville - Mackay

708

Alice Springs

709

Apatula

ZZZ

Outside Australia

Indigenous Locations with hierarchical code changes

ILOC_CODE_2021

ILOC_NAME_2021

10402201

Lake Macquarie - East

10402202

Lake Macquarie - North

10402301

Wyong - North-East

30900101

Atherton

30900201

Barron

30900202

Cairns - City

30900203

Cairns - North

30900204

Cairns - West

30900205

Cairns - White Rock - Mt Sheridan

30900206

Edmonton

30900207

Gordonvale

30900208

Manunda - Portsmith

30900209

Mount Whitfield

30900210

Trinity

30900301

Mossman

30900302

Mossman - Surrounds

30900303

Mossman Gorge

30900401

Cairns - Southern Hinterlands

30900501

Eacham

30900601

Herberton

30900602

Herberton Tablelands

30900603

Mount Garnet

30900604

Ravenshoe

30900701

Innisfail

30900702

Johnstone

30900801

Etheridge Tablelands

30900901

Mareeba

30901001

Cardwell

30901002

Jumbun

30901003

Tully

30901101

Cape Tribulation - China Camp - Zig Zag

30901102

Wujal Wujal

30901201

Yarrabah

31000101

Bowen (Qld)

31000201

Ayr

31000202

Burdekin

31000301

Charters Towers

31000401

Flinders - Richmond - Dalrymple

31000501

Hinchinbrook

31000502

Ingham

31000601

Mackay

31000701

Mackay - Surrounds

31000801

Mirani

31000901

Palm Island

31001001

Proserpine - Whitsunday

31001101

Sarina

31001201

Thuringowa

31001301

Townsville

31001401

Townsville - Northern Beaches

31001402

Townsville - Southern Rangelands

50800506

Yungngora

50800601

Jarlmadangah Burru

50800602

Kupungarri

50800603

Looma

50800605

Pandanus Park

70800101

Charles

70800102

Flynn

70800103

Heavitree

70800104

Ilparpa community

70800105

Larapinta

70800107

Ross

70800108

Yirara College and Surrounds

70800201

Anthelk Ewlpaye

70800202

Anthepe - New Llparpa - Tyeweretye

70800203

Ewyenper - Ilpeye - Irklancha

70800204

Ilperle-Tyathe - Mt Nancy - Aper-Alwerr

70800206

Nyewente - Akngwertnarre - Namatjira

70800207

Yarrenyty-Arltere

70900101

Amoonguna

70900102

Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Purte)

70900103

South MacDonnell Ranges

70900104

Titjikala

70900201

Ampilatwatja and Outstations

70900301

Anmatjere - Surrounds

70900302

Anmatjere - Ti Tree

70900303

Laramba

70900304

Nturiya

70900305

Pmara Jutunta

70900306

Wilora

70900401

Apatula (Finke)

70900501

Atitjere

70900502

Atitjere - Akarnenehe Outstations

70900503

Engawala

70900601

Haasts Bluff and Outstations

70900602

Mount Liebig and Outstations

70900701

Hermannsburg

70900901

Imanpa (Mount Ebenezer)

70900902

Mutitjulu - Uluru

70901001

Nyirripi

70901002

Tanami Outstations

70901101

Papunya

70901102

Papunya Outstations

70901201

Atneltyey

70901202

Illeuwurru - Inkawenyerre

70901203

Irrultja

70901204

Utopia - Arawerr - Arlparra

70901301

Walungurru (Kintore)

70901302

Walungurru Outstations

70901401

Areyonga

70901402

Ingkerreke Outstations

70901403

Tjuwanpa Outstations

70901404

Wallace Rockhole

70901501

Willowra

70901601

Yuelamu

70901701

Yuendumu and Outstations

Indigenous Areas with hierarchical code changes

IARE_CODE_2021

IARE_NAME_2021

309001

Atherton

309002

Cairns

309003

Cairns - Far North Coast

309004

Cairns - Southern Hinterlands

309005

Eacham

309006

Herberton - Ravenshoe

309007

Innisfail - Johnstone

309008

Kuranda - Croydon

309009

Mareeba

309010

Tully - Cardwell - Jumbun

309011

Wujal Wujal and Outstations

309012

Yarrabah

310001

Bowen (Qld)

310002

Burdekin - Ayr

310003

Charters Towers

310004

Flinders - Richmond - Dalrymple

310005

Ingham - Hinchinbrook

310006

Mackay

310007

Mackay - Surrounds

310008

Mirani

310009

Palm Island

310010

Proserpine - Whitsunday

310011

Sarina

310012

Thuringowa

310013

Townsville

310014

Townsville - Surrounds

709002

Ampilatwatja and Outstations

709003

Anmatjere

709004

Apatula (Finke) and Homelands

709005

Atitjere - Akarnenehe - Engawala

709006

Haasts Bluff - Mount Liebig (Watiyawanu)

709007

Hermannsburg

709008

Kaltukatjara and Outstations

709009

Mutitjulu - Uluru - Imanpa

709010

Nyirripi and Tanami Outstations

709011

Papunya and Outstations

709012

Urapuntja

709013

Walungurru and Outstations

709014

West MacDonnell Ranges

709015

Willowra

709016

Yuelamu

709017

Yuendumu and Outstations

Indigenous Locations with name changes only

ILOC_CODE_2021

ILOC_NAME_2021

30700404

Masig (Yorke Island)

50300503

Tjuntjuntjara

Non ABS Structures

Non ABS Structures are administrative regions which are not defined or maintained by the ABS. The ABS is committed to providing a range of statistics for the following Non ABS Structures:

  • Local Government Areas are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of gazetted local government boundaries as defined by each state and territory
  • State Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of state electoral districts
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) federal electoral division boundaries
  • Postal Areas are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of a general definition of postcodes
  • Tourism Regions are an ABS SA2 approximation of tourism regions as provided by Tourism Research Australia
  • Australian Drainage Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of drainage divisions as provided through the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric
  • Suburbs and Localities (formerly State Suburbs) are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of gazetted localities
  • Destination Zones are co-designed with state and territory transport authorities for the analysis of Place of Work Census of Population and Housing data, commuting patterns and the development of transport policy.

Local Government Areas are updated annually. Commonwealth Electoral Divisions and State Electoral Divisions are also updated annually, but only where redistributions have occurred. The remainder of the Non ABS Structures are updated every 5 years.

Unit summary of the Non ABS Structures

Region type

NSW

Vic.

Qld

SA

WA

Tas.

NT

ACT

OT

Aust.

Total*

LGA

131

82

80

73

139

31

21

3

5

565

566

SED

95

90

95

49

61

24

27

7

3

451

452

CED(a)

49

41

32

12

17

7

4

5

2

169

170

POA(a)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2,643

2,644

TR(b)

13

20

13

12

5

5

7

1

0

76

76

ADD(a)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

16

17

SAL

4,544

2,946

3,235

1,698

1,701

778

305

138

7

15,352

15,353

DZN (c)

3,335

3,013

1,028

583

819

144

169

228

6

9,328

9,329

Last updated: 6 October 2021

*Total varies from the Australia count by 1 as it includes a new special purpose code for Outside Australia. 

(a) Regions cross state boundaries. 

(b) Excludes Other Territories, Migratory - Offshore - Shipping, No usual address and Outside Australia. 

(c) Includes special purpose codes for the whole of Australia (Place of Work not stated, Place of Work not applicable and Overseas visitor).  

Key changes

For ASGS Edition 3, Mesh Blocks, SA1s and SA2s have been updated to reflect population growth and changes to infrastructure. These changes enable users to access meaningful statistics on communities of interest. Detailed information on Main Structure changes is recorded in the changes from the previous edition of the ASGS section of this publication. The boundaries that Non ABS Structures are based on, and the Mesh Blocks and SA2s which they are built from, change with each new update. Due to these regular updates, we do not recommend using Non ABS Structures in time series analysis. Geographic correspondence files enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 are available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Annual changes to Local Government Areas, State Electoral Divisions and Commonwealth Electoral Divisions will be listed in their respective sections of this publication.

Other significant changes to the ASGS Non ABS Structures since ASGS 2016 are:

  • Destination Zones are now officially included in Non ABS Structures.
  • Natural Resource Management Regions are no longer included in Non ABS Structures as they were found to be rarely used. It will still be possible to access data on these boundaries through statistical consultancies.
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions and State Electoral Divisions are now built up from Mesh Blocks rather than SA1s.
  • Local Government Area names no longer include region type status suffixes.

Further information regarding these changes is provided in each Non ABS Structures section.

For information on how Non ABS Structures relate to the whole ASGS, refer to the ASGS diagram.

Local Government Areas

Local Government Areas are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of gazetted local government boundaries as defined by each state and territory. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 566 Local Government Areas covering the whole of Australia, including unincorporated areas, without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information on special purpose codes can be found in the Local Government Area coding structure section below.

LGA design criteria

The ABS reviews Local Government Areas annually, and any changes will be applied by including or excluding whole Mesh Blocks. Mesh Blocks are allocated to Local Government Areas primarily based on where population is located.

Local Government Areas cover legally designated parts of a State or Territory for which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility. In ABS Local Government Areas, parts of Australia not administered by incorporated bodies are identified as Unincorporated followed by a state or territory suffix - for example Unincorporated ACT. Unincorporated areas include the Australian Capital Territory, northern parts of South Australia, and some Other Territories. In ASGS Edition 3 the territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are included as Western Australian Local Government Areas, reflecting their administration at local government level.

LGA name criteria

To standardise formatting across states and territories, Local Government Area names are abbreviated in this structure. Examples include:

  • City of Albury becomes Albury
  • District Council of Copper Coast becomes Copper Coast

Where the same Local Government Area name appears in multiple states or territories, the State or Territory abbreviation appears in brackets after the name. Local Government Area names are therefore unique. In previous editions of the ASGS suffixes were attached to Local Government Area names to indicate the official status of incorporated areas. For example, cities were marked with (C) while shires were marked with (S). As official statuses are not uniform across states and territories, these suffixes have been removed in ASGS Edition 3. For more information about suffixes used in previous editions of Local Government Areas please refer to the relevant publication.

LGA coding structure

Local Government Areas are identified by unique five-digit codes consisting of a one-digit state or territory identifier and a four-digit Local Government Area identifier as shown below. Local Government Area identifiers are unique within each state and territory. Changes to codes occur where a Local Government Area is abolished or has changed significantly. When a Local Government Area is removed, its identifier is retired. When a new Local Government Area is created, the next available identifier in alphabetical order is assigned. All Local Government Area codes end with the digit zero.

S/T identifier

LGA identifier

LGA code

LGA name

5

4830

54830

Kwinana

Where significant boundary changes have occurred, the codes used for ASGS Edition 3 may not match those used in past editions. When interpreting change, Local Government Area codes and names should be used together. Geographic correspondence files enabling the translation of data between ASGS 2016 and ASGS Edition 3 are available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of legally designated Local Government Areas.

  • 9799 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • 9499 is reserved for cases where people are coded to No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • ZZZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

State Electoral Divisions

State Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of state electoral districts as defined by state and territory electoral commissions. A state electoral district is an area legally prescribed for the purpose of returning one or more members to the state or territory lower houses of parliament, or the relevant equivalent. State Electoral Divisions are based on the most up to date state electoral districts available prior to publication. State Electoral Divisions may change as State or Territory authorities revise their boundaries. When this occurs, State Electoral Divisions will be updated annually together with updates of other Non ABS Structures. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries, and should only be used for statistical purposes. Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania have extra boundaries that represent their upper house state electoral districts, and these are represented in the State Electoral Division names and coding structure.

There are 452 State Electoral Divisions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the State Electoral Division coding structure section below.

SED design criteria

In ASGS Edition 3, State Electoral Divisions are now approximated using Mesh Blocks rather than Statistical Areas Level 1. This allows ABS State Electoral Divisions to more closely approximate legally prescribed state electoral district boundaries. Mesh Blocks are allocated to State Electoral Divisions based on the largest population contribution. Where a Mesh Block covers two or more State Electoral Divisions, the Mesh Block can only be allocated to one electorate; as a result, some State Electoral Divisions have multiple parts.

The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Norfolk Island and Jervis Bay are allocated to Unclassified (OT).

No usual address, Migratory, Offshore and Shipping special purpose Mesh Blocks are represented as non-spatial objects in the digital boundaries.

SED name criteria

State Electoral Division names are the same as those allocated by the electoral commission of each State and Territory. Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania have extra boundaries that represent their upper house state electoral districts. For these states, the allocated upper house boundary is listed after the lower house electoral district name, for example, Broadmeadows (Northern Metropolitan).

SED coding structure

State Electoral Divisions are identified by unique five-digit codes consisting of a one-digit state or territory identifier and a four-digit State Electoral Division identifier. State Electoral Division identifiers are unique within each state and territory and are assigned alphabetically by name. They are allocated differently to reflect varying electoral arrangements between states and territories.

New South Wales and South Australia both have two houses of parliament, but their upper houses are single constituencies, not represented by sub-state level boundaries. Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory all have only one house of parliament. For these five states and territories, State Electoral Division identifiers are allocated alphabetically from 0001 as shown in the table below.

S/T identifier

SED identifier

SED code

SED name

1

0063

10063

Orange

3

0048

30048

Maiwar

4

0013

40013

Enfield

7

0021

70021

Nightcliff

8

0005

80005

Yerrabi

Victoria and Western Australia have two houses of parliament and their upper house regions are created by amalgamating lower house state electoral districts. In these states the first two digits of the State Electoral Division identifiers are allocated alphabetically from 01 to the lower house regions, while the final two digits are allocated alphabetically from 01 to the upper house regions, as shown in the table below.

S/T identifier

Lower house identifier

Upper house identifier

SED code

SED name

2

15

03

21503

Bundoora (Northern Metropolitan)

5

53

06

55306

Vasse (South West)

Tasmania also has two houses of parliament with defined upper house regions, but they are not created by amalgamating lower house state electoral districts. Tasmanian State Electoral Division identifiers are allocated in the same way as Victoria and Western Australia. However, as upper house regions do not aggregate from the lower house regions there is more than one code covering a lower house region, as shown in the table below.

S/T identifier

Lower house identifier

Upper house identifier

SED code

SED name

6

03

02

60302

Clark (Elwick)

6

03

03

60303

Clark (Hobart)

Where significant boundary changes have occurred, the codes used for ASGS Edition 3 may not match those used in past editions. When interpreting change, State Electoral Division codes and names should be used together. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of legally designated state electoral districts.

  • 9494 is reserved for No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • 9797 is reserved for Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • ZZZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) federal electoral divisions. AEC electoral divisions are areas legally prescribed for the purpose of returning members to the House of Representatives. ABS Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are based on the AEC electoral division boundaries available prior to publication. Commonwealth Electoral Divisions may change as the AEC revise their boundaries. Where this occurs, Commonwealth Electoral Divisions will be updated annually, together with updates to other Non ABS Structures. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 170 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the Commonwealth Electoral Division coding structure section below.

CED design criteria

In ASGS Edition 3, Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are now approximated using Mesh Blocks rather than Statistical Areas Level 1. This allows ABS Commonwealth Electoral Divisions to more closely approximate AEC electoral divisions. Mesh Blocks are allocated to Commonwealth Electoral Divisions based on population. Where a Mesh Block covers two or more Commonwealth Electoral Divisions, the Mesh Block is only allocated to one electorate.

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions cover the whole of geographic Australia. They do not generally cross State and Territory borders but there are three exceptions:

  • Norfolk Island is included in the Australia Capital Territory electorate of Bean
  • Jervis Bay Territory is included in the Australian Capital Territory electorate of Fenner
  • the Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included in the Northern Territory electorate of Lingiari.

No usual address, Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks are represented as non-spatial objects in the digital boundaries.

CED name criteria

Commonwealth Electoral Division names are the same as those allocated by the Australian Electoral Commission.

CED coding structure

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions are identified by unique three-digit codes consisting of a one-digit state or territory identifier and a two-digit Commonwealth Electoral Division identifier. Commonwealth Electoral Division identifiers are assigned alphabetically starting from 01 within each state and territory. This coding structure is shown in the table below.

S/T identifier

CED identifier

CED code

CED name

1

19

119

Hughes

5

04

504

Cowan

Where significant boundary changes have occurred, the codes used for ASGS Edition 3 may not match those used in past editions. When interpreting change, Commonwealth Electoral Division codes and names should be used together. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of legally designated AEC electoral divisions.

  • 94 is reserved for No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • 97 is reserved for Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • ZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Postal Areas

Postal Areas are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of a general definition of postcodes. They enable comparison of ABS data with other data collected using postcodes as the geographic reference. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 2,644 Postal Areas covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 3 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information on special purpose codes can be found in the Postal Area coding structure section below.

The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by individual Postal Areas and Jervis Bay is included in NSW.

POA design criteria

Mesh Blocks are allocated to Postal Areas based on the largest population contribution. Where a Mesh Block covers two or more postcodes, the Mesh Block can only be allocated to one Postal Area. These allocations have been determined using the best available information on postcode boundaries.

Some official postcodes are not included in Postal Areas. This occurs when a Mesh Block cannot be allocated to a postcode. There are two situations where this occurs:

  • a Mesh Block covers more than one whole postcode, and the Mesh Block can be allocated to only one postcode
  • more than one Mesh Block partly covers a postcode, but all the Mesh Blocks are allocated to other postcodes, based on population.

Postal Areas exclude postcodes that are not street delivery areas. These include post office boxes, mail back competitions, large volume receivers and specialist delivery postcodes. These postcodes are only valid for postal addresses and are not a valid location for population data.

There are instances where postcodes cross state or territory boundaries. In these cases, Postal Area reflect this. The following table lists these Postal Areas.

POA code

States/Territories

0872

Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia

2540

New South Wales, Other Territories

2611

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory

2620

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory

2618

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory

2406

New South Wales, Queensland

3707

Victoria, New South Wales

3691

Victoria, New South Wales

3644

Victoria, New South Wales

4375

Queensland, New South Wales

4377

Queensland, New South Wales

4380

Queensland, New South Wales

4383

Queensland, New South Wales

4385

Queensland, New South Wales

4825

Queensland, Northern Territory

POA name criteria

Postal Areas are not allocated names as there is no standardised name available. As a result, the Postal Area code is repeated in the name field.

POA coding structure

Each Postal Area code is the same as the corresponding four-digit official postcode, as shown in the examples below.

POA code

POA name

2614

2614

2615

2615

2617

2617

2618

2618

2619

2619

9494

No usual address (Aust.)

9797

Migratory - Offshore - Shipping (Aust.)

ZZZZOutside Australia

The codes used for ASGS Edition 3 Postal Areas may not match those used in past editions. This is because postcodes can be abolished, postcode boundaries adjusted, or new postcodes created between editions of the ASGS. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of any official Postal Area.

  • 9797 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • 9494 is reserved for cases where people are coded to No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • ZZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Tourism Regions

Tourism Regions are an ABS approximation of tourism regions provided by Tourism Research Australia (TRA). They are administrative regions primarily used by Tourism Research Australia for research and policy purposes. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 76 Tourism Regions that do not cover the whole of Australia. The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Norfolk Island and Jervis Bay are not included. There are no special purpose codes included in the Tourism Regions classification.

TR design criteria

Tourism Regions have been created using Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) to enable the release of ABS data on areas that, as closely as possible, approximate those provided.

For ASGS Edition 3, 76 Tourism Regions have been defined. Tourism Regions do not cross State or Territory borders. The ACT has only one Tourism Region and there are no Tourism Regions for the Other Territories.

TR name criteria

Tourism Region names are the same as those specified by Tourism Research Australia (TRA).

TR coding structure

Tourism Region codes are based on historic codes and remain unchanged if there has been no significant change to the boundary. Where significant change has occurred, Tourism Region codes are retired, and new codes introduced. Examples are shown below. 

S/T identifer

TR identiferTR codeTR name

1

R1001R100Hunter

2

R1002R100High Country

3

R1003R100Whitsundays

The codes used for ASGS Edition 3 may not match those used in past editions. When interpreting change, Tourism Region codes and names should be used together. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Special purpose codes are not included for Tourism Regions.

Australian Drainage Divisions

Australian Drainage Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of drainage divisions provided through the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric. Australian Drainage Divisions are created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that approximate those provided in the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 17 Australian Drainage Divisions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 3 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the Australian Drainage Division coding structure section below.

The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by a single Australian Drainage Division - Unclassified (Aust.). Jervis Bay is included in the Australian Drainage Division of South East Coast (NSW).

ADD design criteria

In ASGS Edition 3, Australian Drainage Divisions are approximated using Mesh Blocks based on the largest area contribution rather than population, which is used for most other Non ABS Structures.

Australian Drainage Divisions consist of a total of 17 regions. Australian Drainage Divisions are defined to cover the whole of geographic Australia, excluding the Other Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island which have been allocated to D91 Unclassified (Aust.). Australian Drainage Divisions can cross state borders. The best example of this is the Murray-Darling Basin which crosses over four States and Territories.

No usual address and Migratory – Offshore – Shipping are represented as non-spatial objects in the digital boundaries.

ADD name criteria

Australian Drainage Divisions names are the same as those allocated by the Bureau of Meteorology.

ADD coding structure

Australian Drainage Divisions are allocated a two-digit code based on historic codes and have been retained for ASGS Edition 3. This is prefixed by a D which enables unique identification across the country and differentiates them from other ABS codes, as shown below.

While codes and names are unchanged, boundary changes have occurred. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

ADD code

ADD name

D01

Carpentaria Coast

D02

Lake Eyre Basin

D03

Murray-Darling Basin

D04

North East Coast

D91

Unclassified (Aust.)

D94

No usual address (Aust.)

D97

Migratory - Offshore - Shipping (Aust.)

DZZ

Outside Australia

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of any legally designated drainage division.

  • D94 is reserved for those States or Territories where people are coded to the No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • D97 is reserved for States or Territories that have Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • DZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Suburbs and Localities

Suburbs and Localities, formerly State Suburbs, are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of the officially recognised boundaries of suburbs (in cities and larger towns) and localities (outside cities and larger towns) as defined by the State and Territory governments of Australia. Suburbs and Localities are created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that approximate the official localities. This allows for the comparison of ABS data with other data collected using localities as the geographic reference. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 15,353 Suburbs and Localities covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 19 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the Suburbs and Localities coding structure section below.

Suburbs and Localities are determined by the Permanent Committee on Place Names (PCPN) under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ISCM), and are approximated by ABS Mesh Blocks. 

Presently there remain areas of rural South Australia and rural Australian Capital Territory that are undefined in the officially defined boundaries. Various islands offshore from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania and some inshore water areas and islands are also undefined. The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Norfolk Island and Jervis Bay are each represented by individual Suburbs and Localities.

SAL design criteria

The ASGS Edition 3 Suburbs and Localities are based on the May 2021 localities data available from Geoscape. There are areas of rural South Australia and rural Australian Capital Territory that are undefined in the officially defined boundaries. Various islands offshore from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania and some inshore water areas and islands are also undefined.

Each Mesh Block has been allocated once to an official locality; this is generally based on the largest population contribution. As a result, there are official localities which will not appear in the Suburbs and Localities. This occurs in cases where:

  • a Mesh Block covers more than one whole official locality, and the Mesh Block can only be allocated to one locality
  • more than one Mesh Block partly covers an official locality, but all the Mesh Blocks are allocated to other localities based on population

All islands defined within the ASGS have been assigned to a Suburb and Locality. Where an island falls outside the officially defined locality, the island is assigned to the nearest mainland Suburb and Locality.

In ASGS Edition 3, the area of South Australia that is not covered by official localities has been assigned to the Suburbs and Localities SA Remainder. Similarly, the area of the ACT that is not currently covered by official localities has been defined as ACT Remainder. ACT Remainder has been further broken down to approximate official ACT District boundaries which are listed below.

SAL code

SAL name

80001

ACT Remainder - Belconnen

80002

ACT Remainder - Booth

80003

ACT Remainder - Canberra Central

80004

ACT Remainder - Coree

80005

ACT Remainder - Cotter River

80006

ACT Remainder - Gungahlin

80007

ACT Remainder - Hall

80008

ACT Remainder - Jerrabomberra

80009

ACT Remainder - Kowen

80010

ACT Remainder - Majura

80011

ACT Remainder - Molonglo Valley

80012

ACT Remainder - Paddys River

80013

ACT Remainder - Rendezvous Creek

80014

ACT Remainder - Stromlo

80015

ACT Remainder - Tuggeranong

80016

ACT Remainder - Weston Creek

SAL name criteria

Official locality names are not unique across Australia, or within a State or Territory. Where the same Suburb and Locality name appears in different States or Territories, the State or Territory abbreviation appears in brackets after the name. Where the name is duplicated within a State or Territory, an identifying name based on the Local Government Area name plus the State or Territory abbreviation is used, as shown below. Suburb and Locality names are therefore unique. It should be noted that there is no connection between Suburbs and Localities and Local Government Areas. The Local Government Area name is used only to differentiate between duplicate names within a State or Territory.

SAL code

SAL name

31239

Greenmount (Mackay - Qld)

31240

Greenmount (Toowoomba - Qld)

50585

Greenmount (WA)

SAL coding structure

Suburbs and Localities are identified by unique five-digit codes consisting of a one-digit state or territory identifier and a four-digit code starting from 0001.

S/T identifier

SAL identifier

SAL code

SAL name

1

0001

10001

Aarons Pass

1

0002

10002

Abbotsbury

1

0003

10003

Abbotsford (NSW)

1

0004

10004

Abercrombie

1

0005

10005

Abercrombie River

1

0006

10006

Aberdare

1

9494

19494

No usual address (NSW)

1

9797

19797

Migratory - Offshore - Shipping (NSW)

Z

ZZZZ

ZZZZZ

Outside Australia

The codes used for ASGS Edition 3 may not match those used in past editions, as codes are assigned alphabetically within each State and Territory, and some Suburb and Locality names have changed since ASGS 2016. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of legally designated Suburbs and Localities.

  • 9797 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • 9494 is reserved for cases where people are coded to No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • ZZZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Destination Zones

Destination Zones are geographic areas built from whole Mesh Blocks. Whole Destination Zones aggregate to form Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) and they do not align to Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s). Destination Zones are co-designed with state and territory transport authorities for the analysis of Place of Work Census of Population and Housing data, commuting patterns and the development of transport policy. 2021 Census of Population and Housing Place of Work data is coded to ASGS Edition 3 (2021) Destination Zones. ASGS Edition 3 is the first time Destinations Zones are included in the ASGS Non ABS Structures. Prior to this, Destination Zones were built separately from the ASGS. For more information and to access 2016 Destination Zones, refer to the Census of Population and Housing Destination Zones publication.

There are 9,329 Destination Zones covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 22 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the Destination Zone coding structure section below.

Destination Zones align to Statistical Areas Level 2, which allows data from different sources to be comparable at this level. It also allows Destination Zones to be aggregated to any level of the ASGS that is an aggregation of SA2s. This includes the following ASGS Edition 3 areas:

DZN design criteria

The ASGS Edition 3 Destination Zones are based on the 2016 Destination Zones and were initially created by allocating the 2016 Destination Zone boundaries to the 2021 Mesh Block boundaries. New Destination Zones were then created in high growth areas. A draft set of Destination Zones was then supplied to each State and Territory Transport Authority for review and feedback. This feedback was then applied where appropriate.

DZN name criteria

Destination Zones do not have names.

DZN coding structure

Destination Zones are identified by unique nine-digit codes consisting of a one-digit state or territory identifier, a four-digit SA2 identifier and a four-digit Destination Zone identifier as shown below. Destination Zone identifiers are unique within each state and territory.

S/T identifierSA2 identifierDZN identifierDZN code
111728922111728922

Non-spatial special purposes codes are included as balancing items.

  • 9499 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Place of Work No Fixed Address Mesh Blocks.
  • 9799 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks (note that this includes Antarctica).
  • ZZZZZZZZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.
Place of Work No Fixed Address example
S/T identifierSA2 identifierDZN identifierDZN code
194999499194999499

Three special purpose identifiers are reserved for Place of Work not stated, Place of Work not applicable and Overseas visitor. These are Australia wide and as a result, a State or Territory identifier of 0 is used, these are:

  • 0&&&&&&&&: Place of Work not stated
  • 0@@@@@@@@: Place of Work not applicable
  • 0VVVVVVVV: Overseas visitor
Place of Work not stated example
S/T identifierSA2 identifierDZN identifierDZN code
0&&&&&&&&0&&&&&&&&&

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

Using the ASGS

The ASGS allows users to analyse and visualise statistics based on location. All ABS data and statistics below the State and Territory level are published with an ASGS code indicating location. The ASGS code makes it easy to find where ABS data is related to, and if you know the name or the ASGS code for the location you are interested in there are a number of ways to access ABS data for that location. This includes through publications, tables, maps and APIs. Information on the various ways to access ABS data can be found in this section.

To select the correct ASGS region you should consider the type of information you are interested in, and how large an area you would like to have represented. As an example, you may want to find information about your suburb, your city, or your state or territory, and should select an ASGS region which covers the appropriate area. To view the different ASGS regions you can visit ABS Maps.

You may also be interested in bringing in data from other sources to view alongside ABS data, or in using ABS data in your analysis of other geographic boundaries. This section also contains some guidance material and resources to support you in doing this.

Using ABS data on ASGS boundaries

All ABS data for areas is coded or can be linked to the ASGS. ABS data is released on the most suitable ASGS geography, and is also available at all of the higher levels of the ASGS. The table below includes some examples.

All ABS publications which include information below the State and Territory level have data with ASGS codes which can be downloaded directly from the publication. This is the most straightforward option if no mapping or geospatial analysis is needed.

For data on a specific ASGS region, for example a particular Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2), detailed economic and social data can be viewed and downloaded from Data by Region. Data is available for the ASGS Main Structure geographies, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) and Local Government Areas (LGAs). Census of Population and Housing data is also available for further geographies via QuickStats.

There are many other ways to access ABS data coded to the ASGS. See Compare Data Services for a full listing of available services and the geographies included, and information on how to access these services.

Census of Population and Housing data is available for all ASGS geographies with some limitations. For example, the data available at the Mesh Block level is limited to population counts due to confidentiality restrictions. Most population statistics are available by SA2. However, some other data sources are only available for larger areas; these include labour statistics which are released by Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4). Data generally cannot be transformed to smaller areas than the original reported geography, when transformation is applied data quality can be impacted. Smaller area data may be available via microdata releases.

The ABS publishes interactive maps for some publications. ABS data is also available via several online mapping platforms, and these can be used to visualise ABS data through interactive maps.

For geospatial analysis in a Geographic Information System (GIS) you will need to access or create the data in a geospatial format. Some ABS publications include GeoPackages which can be viewed and analysed geospatially through a GIS. Census of Population and Housing GeoPackages can be customised and are available from Census of Population and Housing data packs. For non-Census of Population and Housing publications like Regional Population and Building Approvals, GeoPackages can be downloaded directly from the publication page.

You can also view and geospatially analyse ABS data not available as a GeoPackage through a GIS. To do this you will need to separately download the ABS data you are interested in and the relevant ASGS boundaries, and then join the files within the GIS.

To bring ABS data directly into custom systems, you can use an Application Programming Interface (API) for example the ABS Data API or ABS Indicator API. See the Data services and APIs section of this publication for information on accessing ASGS boundaries as data services and APIs.

Geographies related to urban

The ASGS includes several different geographies that represent urban areas. Each geography is designed for different statistical purposes using different criteria. ASGS approximations of cities and towns may differ from official or commonly applied boundaries. Before using an ASGS geography the purpose, design criteria, and update frequency should be carefully considered. ABS Maps can be used to compare these geographies visually.

Urban area geographies
GeographyDescription
Greater Capital City Statistical AreasGCCSAs represent only the eight state and territory capital cities. They are built up from SA4s that represent large functional areas and labour markets. A range of social and economic data is available for GCCSAs.
Urban Centres and LocalitiesUCLs are built up from clusters of SA1s of urban character. UCLs represent the built up area of cities and towns with populations of over 200 people. Localities are restricted by minimum population sizes. As a result, some small towns are not included in this classification. Census of Population and Housing data is available for UCLs.
Significant Urban AreasSUAs are useful for looking at towns and cities with populations of 10,000 people or more. They are built up from SA2s and like UCLs, represent the built up area of cities rather than their functional area. A wider range of data is available for SUAs than for UCLs, including Estimated Resident Population.
Section of State and Section of State RangeSOS and SOSR classify Australia into urban and rural. Categories are created by grouping together UCLs.
Remoteness AreasRemoteness Areas divide Australia into 5 classes of remoteness, including Major Cities, based on relative access to services. They are built up from SA1s and designed using UCLs and the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), produced by The Hugo Centre for Population and Migration Studies at the University of Adelaide.

 

Using other data on ASGS boundaries

Data collected outside the ABS that has any kind of geographic information can be geospatially enabled using the ASGS. Depending on the data type and the level of geographic information contained in the data, non ABS data can be linked to the ASGS using point-in-polygon allocations, geocoding, coding indexes, allocation tables or correspondences.

The table below provides a useful guide on transformation processes and the resulting level of accuracy from each.

Data transformation processes

Data type

Input geography information

Transformation process

Output geography

Accuracy level

Unit record data

Location coordinate - latitude and longitude

Point-in-polygon allocation

Any

Most accurate

 

Building/site address

Geocoding

Any, via coordinates

Most accurate

 

Locality information (for example Suburb and Postcode/State)

Coding Index

SA2 and above

Moderately accurate

Aggregated data

ASGS region

Allocation table

Higher level ASGS regions

Most accurate

 

Region information - other non-ASGS regions (for example Medicare Local regions, school catchments, hospital regions, and environmental zones

Correspondence

Higher or similar level ASGS region

Least accurate

 

ASGS region

Correspondence

Region information other than the ASGS

Least accurate

The ABS recommends using methods such as point-in-polygon allocations and geocoding as the preferred methods of allocating data to the ASGS, however this is not always possible. If only partial address information is available, then coding indexes are recommended. Correspondences, though the most common method of transforming data, should only be used when one of the other options isn't available, as this method is the least accurate in terms of moving data between geographies. The Information Paper on converting data to the ASGS, provides more detail on the various options available.

To support the use of the ASGS, the ABS approximates some common geographies like postcodes and suburbs by constructing them from smaller ASGS Main Structure units. This allows users to compare data in a consistent way.

Using postcodes to match to the ASGS

The ABS creates approximate postcode boundaries using Mesh Blocks, called Postal Areas (POAs). Authoritative boundaries for postcodes are not publicly available, and postcodes are not recommended as a source of geocoding information. POAs are a Non ABS Structure and can be downloaded as digital boundaries and as Mesh Block to POA allocation files from this publication. The ABS recommends obtaining both postcode and suburb information where possible as this will give a better correspondence to the ASGS.

For aggregated data with non-ASGS regional information (for example school catchments), a custom correspondence would be needed. Please note that these are not regularly provided by the ABS and must be arranged through statistical consultancies. Some non-ASGS boundaries may be supported in TableBuilder due to ABS subject matter area requirements.

Access and downloads

This publication includes different resources that can be used to visualise and analyse geographic boundaries, and to link the ASGS to your own data. The table below summarises the main purpose for using each resource provided in this publication.

Summary of ASGS resources
ActionASGS Resource
View and compare boundariesABS Maps
View a list of ASGS regionsAllocation files
Convert data from one region to anotherCorrespondences
View and analyse boundaries in desktop Geospatial Information SystemsDigital boundary files
View and analyse boundaries in online, desktop and custom Geospatial Information SystemsData services or web services

 

Digital boundary files

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) digital boundaries are available in either the OGC GeoPackage, or ESRI shapefile formats. These boundaries are also available in a Web Linked Dataset.

Digital boundaries are available in both the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020) and the Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94). GDA2020 was adopted as the new official national datum in 2017 and will be adopted gradually by organisations across Australia. The difference between GDA94 and GDA2020 on the ground is currently about 1.8 metres. Eventually, the ABS will phase out GDA94 boundaries.

Most GIS software automatically converts boundaries from GDA94 to GDA2020 and vice versa. The ABS uses a conformal only 7 point method for converting GDA94 boundaries to GDA2020. For more information about GDA2020, please refer to the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping or Geoscience Australia.

Downloads for GDA2020 digital boundary files

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Main Structure & Greater Capital City Statistical Areas - 2021 - GeoPackage

Mesh Blocks - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 1 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 2 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 3 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 4 - 2021 - Shapefile

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

States and Territories - 2021 - Shapefile

Australia - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Structure

Indigenous Structure - 2021 - GeoPackage

Indigenous Locations - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Regions - 2021 - Shapefile

Non ABS Structures

Non ABS Structures - 2021 - GeoPackage

Local Government Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

State Electoral Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Postal Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

Tourism Regions - 2021 - Shapefile

Australian Drainage Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Suburbs and Localities - 2021 - Shapefile

Destination Zones - 2021 - Shapefile

Downloads for GDA94 digital boundary files

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Main Structure & Greater Capital City Statistical Areas - 2021 - GeoPackage

Mesh Blocks - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 1 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 2 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 3 - 2021 - Shapefile

Statistical Areas Level 4 - 2021 - Shapefile

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

States and Territories - 2021 - Shapefile

Australia - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Structure

Indigenous Structure - 2021 - GeoPackage

Indigenous Locations - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

Indigenous Regions - 2021 - Shapefile

Non ABS Structures

Non ABS Structures - 2021 - GeoPackage

Local Government Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

State Electoral Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Postal Areas - 2021 - Shapefile

Tourism Regions - 2021 - Shapefile

Australian Drainage Divisions - 2021 - Shapefile

Suburbs and Localities - 2021 - Shapefile

Destination Zones - 2021 - Shapefile

Metadata for digital boundary files

Digital boundaries for each level of the ASGS will be made available as each section of ASGS Edition 3 is published. The boundaries will be available in both GeoPackage and ESRI Shapefile format. Some basic metadata about each of the boundary files is listed below.

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs)

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3

Date of publication: 20 July 2021
Presentation format: digital boundaries
Custodian: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Description

The Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas of ASGS Edition 3 consists of the following regions:

  • Mesh Block (MB)
  • Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1)
  • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)
  • Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3)
  • Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)
  • Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA)
  • State and Territory (S/T)
  • Australia (AUS)

Nomenclature

File names have the format <file type>_<2021>_<AUST>_<GDA> where:

  • <file type> represents the type of boundaries in each file
  • MB = Mesh Block
  • SA1 = Statistical Area Level 1
  • SA2 = Statistical Area Level 2
  • SA3 = Statistical Area Level 3
  • SA4 = Statistical Area Level 4
  • GCCSA = Greater Capital City Statistical Area
  • STE = State and Territory
  • AUS = Australia
  • <2021> represents 2021 the year of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
  • <AUST> indicates the data covers all of Australia
  • <GDA> indicates the Geocentric Datum of Australia used, and may equal GDA94 or GDA2020

Within the files, the States and Territories are identified by unique one-digit codes.

State and Territory codes and names
CodeS/T

1

New South Wales

2

Victoria

3

Queensland

4

South Australia

5

Western Australia

6

Tasmania

7

Northern Territory

8

Australian Capital Territory

9

Other Territories

File attributes: All tables show file type, file name, field and the data type.

Field length: the attribute field lengths specified below may present differently depending on the type of file and the software used to view tables or boundaries. Data is not truncated or altered in any way by this process.

Geography: Mesh Block (MB)
File names: MB_2021_AUST_GDA94, MB_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

MB_CODE_2021

MB_CODE21

Character

11

2

MB_CATEGORY_2021

MB_CAT21

Character

30

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

SA1_CODE_2021

SA1_CODE21

Character

11

6

SA2_CODE_2021

SA2_CODE21

Character

9

7

SA2_NAME_2021

SA2_NAME21

Character

50

8

SA3_CODE_2021

SA3_CODE21

Character

5

9

SA3_NAME_2021

SA3_NAME21

Character

50

10

SA4_CODE_2021

SA4_CODE21

Character

3

11

SA4_NAME_2021

SA4_NAME21

Character

50

12

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

13

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

14

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

15

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

16

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

17

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

18

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

19

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1)
File names: SA1_2021_AUST_GDA94, SA1_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

SA1_CODE_2021

SA1_CODE21

Character

11

2

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

3

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

4

SA2_CODE_2021

SA2_CODE21

Character

9

5

SA2_NAME_2021

SA2_NAME21

Character

50

6

SA3_CODE_2021

SA3_CODE21

Character

5

7

SA3_NAME_2021

SA3_NAME21

Character

50

8

SA4_CODE_2021

SA4_CODE21

Character

3

9

SA4_NAME_2021

SA4_NAME21

Character

50

10

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

11

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

12

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

13

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

14

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

15

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

16

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

17

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)
File names: SA2_2021_AUST_GDA94, SA2_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

SA2_CODE_2021

SA2_CODE21

Character

9

2

SA2_NAME_2021

SA2_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

SA3_CODE_2021

SA3_CODE21

Character

5

6

SA3_NAME_2021

SA3_NAME21

Character

50

7

SA4_CODE_2021

SA4_CODE21

Character

3

8

SA4_NAME_2021

SA4_NAME21

Character

50

9

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

10

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

11

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

12

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

13

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

14

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

15

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

16

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3)
File names: SA3_2021_AUST_GDA94, SA3_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

SA3_CODE_2021

SA3_CODE21

Character

5

2

SA3_NAME_2021

SA3_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

SA4_CODE_2021

SA4_CODE21

Character

3

6

SA4_NAME_2021

SA4_NAME21

Character

50

7

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

8

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

9

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

10

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

11

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

12

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

13

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

14

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)
File names: SA4_2021_AUST_GDA94, SA4_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

SA4_CODE_2021

SA4_CODE21

Character

3

2

SA4_NAME_2021

SA4_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

6

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

7

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

8

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

9

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

10

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

11

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

12

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)
File names: GCCSA_2021_AUST_GDA94, GCCSA_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

GCCSA_CODE_2021

GCC_CODE21

Character

5

2

GCCSA_NAME_2021

GCC_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

6

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

7

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

8

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

9

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

10

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: State and Territory (S/T)
File names: STE_2021_AUST_GDA94, STE_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

2

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Australia (AUS)
File names: AUS_2021_AUST_GDA94, AUS_2021_AUST_GDA2020

Count

Field (GeoPackage)

Field (ESRI .shp)

Data type

Length of available characters

1

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

2

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

3

CHANGE_FLAG_2021

CHG_FLAG21

Character

1

4

CHANGE_LABEL_2021

CHG_LBL21

Character

11

5

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

6

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Data currency

Date of effect: 20 July 2021

Dataset status

Progress: Completed dataset

Maintenance and update frequency: No further updates for these boundaries are planned. There will be a progressive release of the other regions that make up the ASGS until early 2023.

Access

Stored data format: Digital as separate files for each level of the Main Structure and GCCSA of ASGS Edition 3.

Available format: The digital boundary files are in GeoPackage and ESRI Shapefile (.shp) format.

Spatial representation type: Vector

Access constraints: Copyright Commonwealth of Australia administered by the ABS. Unless otherwise noted, content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Datum:

  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94)
  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)

Projection: Geographic (i.e. latitudes and longitudes)
Geographic extent: Geographic Australia
Extent - geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -8
South bounding latitude: -45
West bounding latitude: 96
East bounding latitude: 169

Data quality

Lineage: Mesh Block boundaries were created using various sources including the Geoscape digital datasets and ABS boundaries, zoning information from state planning agencies, and imagery. State borders are aligned to Australia’s Land Borders dataset produced by Geoscience Australia.

Positional accuracy: Positional accuracy is an assessment of the closeness of the location of spatial objects in relation to their true positions on the earth's surface.
The positional accuracy includes:

  • a horizontal accuracy assessment
  • a vertical accuracy assessment

Positional accuracy for ABS boundaries is dependent on the accuracy of the features they have been aligned to.

ABS boundaries are aligned to layers supplied by Geoscape with an accuracy of +/-50 mm. Geoscape layers and their positional accuracy are as follows:

  • Transport and Topography: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • CadLite: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • Administrative Boundaries: Derived from the cadastre data from each Australian state and territory jurisdiction.
  • Greenspace and Hydrology: 90% of well-defined features are within 1mm (at plot scale) of their true position, for example 1:500 equates to +/- 0.5 metre and 1:25,000 equates to +/- 25 metres. Relative spatial accuracy of these themes reflects that of the jurisdictional source data. The accuracy is +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas. No "shift" of data as a means of "cartographic enhancement" to facilitate presentation has been employed for any real world feature.
  • Precision: Boundary coordinates have been rounded to 8 decimal places, equivalent to 1.1132 mm at the equator. All ABS boundaries have been generalised to 5 cm with a 7.5 cm shared boundary tolerance.
  • Attribute accuracy: All codes and labels for all levels within the ASGS Edition 3 Main Structure and GCCSAs are fully validated.
  • Logical consistency: Regions are closed polygons. Attribute records without spatial objects have been included in the data for administrative purposes.
  • Completeness: All levels of the Main Structure and GCCSAs within ASGS Edition 3 are represented.

XML metadata files

The compressed download files include geospatial metadata data for each region type in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. The geospatial metadata conforms to International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) geospatial metadata standard, ISO 19115:2003, and the associated XML implementation schema specified by ISO 19139:2012.

Indigenous Structure

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3

Date of publication: 6 October 2021
Presentation format: digital boundaries
Custodian: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Description

The Indigenous Structure of ASGS Edition 3 consists of the following regions:

  • Indigenous Locations (ILOC)
  • Indigenous Areas (IARE)
  • Indigenous Regions (IREG)

Nomenclature

File names have the format <file type>_<2021>_<AUST>_<GDA> where:

  • <file type> represents the type of boundaries in each file
  • ILOC = Indigenous Location
  • IARE = Indigenous Area
  • IREG = Indigenous Region
  • <2021> represents 2021 the year of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
  • <AUST> indicates the data covers all of Australia
  • <GDA> indicates the Geocentric Datum of Australia used and may equal GDA94 or GDA2020

Within the files, the States and Territories are identified by unique one digit codes, as listed below.

State and Territory codes and names
CodeS/T

1

New South Wales

2

Victoria

3

Queensland

4

South Australia

5

Western Australia

6

Tasmania

7

Northern Territory

8

Australian Capital Territory

9

Other Territories

File attributes: All tables show file type, file name, field and the data type.

Field length: the attribute field lengths specified below may present differently depending on the type of file and the software used to view tables or boundaries. Data is not truncated or altered in any way by this process.

Geography: Indigenous Location (ILOC)
File names: ILOC_2021_AUST_GDA94, ILOC_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

ILOC_CODE_2021

ILOC_CODE21

Character

8

2

ILOC_NAME_2021

ILOC_NAME21

Character

50

3

IARE_CODE_2021

IARE_CODE21

Character

6

4

IARE_NAME_2021

IARE_NAME21

Character

50

5

IREG_CODE_2021

IREG_CODE21

Character

3

6

IREG_NAME_2021

IREG_NAME21

Character

50

7

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

8

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

9

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

10

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

11

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

12

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Indigenous Area (IARE)
File names: IARE_2021_AUST_GDA94, IARE_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

IARE_CODE_2021

IAR_CODE21

Character

6

2

IARE_NAME_2021

IAR_NAME21

Character

50

3

IREG_CODE_2021

IRE_CODE21

Character

3

4

IREG_NAME_2021

IRE_NAME21

Character

50

5

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

6

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

7

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

8

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

9

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

10

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Indigenous Region (IREG)
File names: IREG_2021_AUST_GDA94, IREG_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

IREG_CODE_2021

IRE_CODE21

Character

3

2

IREG_NAME_2021

IRE_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM

Double

25, 4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Data currency

Date of effect: 6 October 2021

Dataset status

Progress: Completed dataset

Maintenance and update frequency: No further updates for these boundaries are planned. There will be a progressive release of the other regions that make up the ASGS until early 2023. ASGS Edition 4 boundaries will be released progressively from 2026.

Access

Stored data format: Digital as separate files for each level of the Indigenous Structure of ASGS Edition 3.

Available format: The digital boundary files are in GeoPackage and ESRI Shapefile (.shp) format.

Spatial representation type: Vector

Access constraints: Copyright Commonwealth of Australia administered by the ABS. Unless otherwise noted, content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Datum:

  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94)
  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)

Projection: Geographic (i.e. latitudes and longitudes)
Geographic extent: Geographic Australia
Extent - geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -8
South bounding latitude: -45
West bounding latitude: 96
East bounding latitude: 169

Data quality

Lineage: Boundaries were created using various sources including the Geoscape digital datasets and ABS boundaries, zoning information from state planning agencies, and imagery. State borders are aligned to Australia’s Land Borders dataset produced by Geoscience Australia.

Positional accuracy: Positional accuracy is an assessment of the closeness of the location of spatial objects in relation to their true positions on the earth's surface.
The positional accuracy includes:

  • a horizontal accuracy assessment
  • a vertical accuracy assessment

Positional accuracy for ABS boundaries is dependent on the accuracy of the features they have been aligned to.

ABS boundaries are aligned to layers supplied by Geoscape with an accuracy of +/-50 mm. Geoscape layers and their positional accuracy are as follows:

  • Transport and Topography: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • CadLite: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • Administrative Boundaries: Derived from the cadastre data from each Australian state and territory jurisdiction.
  • Greenspace and Hydrology: 90% of well-defined features are within 1mm (at plot scale) of their true position, for example 1:500 equates to +/- 0.5 metre and 1:25,000 equates to +/- 25 metres. Relative spatial accuracy of these themes reflects that of the jurisdictional source data. The accuracy is +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas. No "shift" of data as a means of "cartographic enhancement" to facilitate presentation has been employed for any real world feature.
  • Precision: Boundary coordinates have been rounded to 8 decimal places, equivalent to 1.1132 mm at the equator. All ABS boundaries have been generalised to 5 cm with a 7.5 cm shared boundary tolerance.
  • Attribute accuracy: All codes and labels for all levels within the ASGS Edition 3 Indigenous Structure are fully validated.
  • Logical consistency: Regions are closed polygons. Attribute records without spatial objects have been included in the data for administrative purposes.
  • Completeness: All levels of the Indigenous Structure within ASGS Edition 3 are represented.

XML metadata files

The compressed download files include geospatial metadata data for each region type in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. The geospatial metadata conforms to International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) geospatial metadata standard, ISO 19115:2003, and the associated XML implementation schema specified by ISO 19139:2012.

Non ABS Structures

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3

Date of publication: 6 October 2021
Presentation format: digital boundaries
Custodian: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Description

Non ABS Structures of ASGS Edition 3 consist of the following regions:

  • Local Government Areas (LGA)
  • State Electoral Divisions (SED)
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CED)
  • Postal Areas (POA)
  • Tourism Regions (TR)
  • Australian Drainage Divisions (ADD)
  • Suburbs and Localities (SAL)
  • Destination Zones (DZN)

Nomenclature

File names have the format <file type>_<2021>_<AUST>_<GDA> where:

  • <file type> represents the type of boundaries in each file
  • LGA = Local Government Areas
  • SED = State Electoral Divisions
  • CED = Commonwealth Electoral Divisions
  • POA = Postal Areas
  • TR = Tourism Regions
  • ADD = Australian Drainage Divisions
  • SAL = Suburbs and Localities
  • DZN = Destination Zones
  • <2021> represents 2021 the year of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
  • <AUST> indicates the data covers all of Australia
  • <GDA> indicates the Geocentric Datum of Australia used and may equal GDA94 or GDA2020

Within the files, the states and territories are identified by unique one-digit codes.

State and Territory codes and names
CodeS/T

1

New South Wales

2

Victoria

3

Queensland

4

South Australia

5

Western Australia

6

Tasmania

7

Northern Territory

8

Australian Capital Territory

9

Other Territories

File attributes: All tables show file type, file name, field and the data type.

Field length: the attribute field lengths specified below may present differently depending on the type of file and the software used to view tables or boundaries. Data is not truncated or altered in any way by this process.

Geography: Local Government Areas (LGA)
File names: LGA_2021_AUST_GDA94, LGA_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

LGA_CODE_2021

LGA_CODE21

Character

5

2

LGA_NAME_2021

LGA_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: State Electoral Divisions (SED)
File names: SED_2021_AUST_GDA94, SED_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

SED_CODE_2021

SED_CODE21

Character

5

2

SED_NAME_2021

SED_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CED)
File names: CED_2021_AUST_GDA94, CED_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

CED_CODE_2021

CED_CODE21

Character

3

2

CED_NAME_2021

CED_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Postal Areas (POA)
File names: POA_2021_AUST_GDA94, POA_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

POA_CODE_2021

POA_CODE21

Character

4

2

POA_NAME_2021

POA_NAME21

Character

50

3

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

4

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

5

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

6

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCU_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Tourism Regions (TR)
File names: TR_2021_AUST_GDA94, TR_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

TR_CODE_2021

TR_CODE21

Character

5

2

TR_NAME_2021

TR_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Australian Drainage Divisions (ADD)
File names: ADD_2021_AUST_GDA94, ADD_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

ADD_CODE_2021

ADD_CODE21

Character

3

2

ADD_NAME_2021

ADD_NAME21

Character

50

3

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

4

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

5

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25, 4

6

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Suburbs and Localities (SAL)
File names: SAL_2021_AUST_GDA94, SAL_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

SAL_CODE_2021

SAL_CODE21

Character

5

2

SAL_NAME_2021

SAL_NAME21

Character

50

3

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

4

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

5

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

6

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

7

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

8

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Geography: Destination Zones (DZN)
File names: DZN_2021_AUST_GDA94, DZN_2021_AUST_GDA2020

CountField (GeoPackage)Field (ESRI .shp)Data typeLength of available characters

1

DZN_CODE_2021

DZN_CODE21

Character

9

2

SA2_CODE_2021

SA2_CODE21

Character

9

3

SA2_NAME_2021

SA2_NAME21

Character

50

4

STATE_CODE_2021

STE_CODE21

Character

1

5

STATE_NAME_2021

STE_NAME21

Character

50

6

AUS_CODE_2021

AUS_CODE21

Character

3

7

AUS_NAME_2021

AUS_NAME21

Character

50

8

AREA_ALBERS_SQKM

AREASQKM21

Double

25,4

9

ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

LOCI_URI21

Character

622

Data currency

Date of effect: 6 October 2021

Dataset status

Progress: Completed dataset

Maintenance and update frequency: The Non ABS Structures represent regions that are subject to ongoing change. For consistency, most Non ABS Structures are updated every five years. These boundaries will be updated next in 2026. Local Government Areas will be revised annually regardless of substantive change to source boundaries. State Electoral Divisions and Commonwealth Electoral Divisions will be reviewed and updated annually only when substantive changes are made to source boundaries.

Access

Stored data format: Digital as separate files for each Non ABS Structure within the ASGS Edition 3.

Available format: The digital boundary files are in GeoPackage and ESRI Shapefile (.shp) format.

Spatial representation type: Vector

Access constraints: Copyright Commonwealth of Australia administered by the ABS. Unless otherwise noted, content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Datum:

  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (GDA94)
  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)

Projection: Geographic (i.e. latitudes and longitudes)
Geographic extent: Geographic Australia
Extent - geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -8
South bounding latitude: -45
West bounding latitude: 96
East bounding latitude: 169

Data quality

Lineage: Mesh Block boundaries were created using various sources including the Geoscape digital datasets and ABS boundaries, zoning information from state planning agencies, and imagery. State borders are aligned to Australia’s Land Borders dataset produced by Geoscience Australia. Some Non ABS Structures have additional sources including:

  • SED: State and territory digital datasets from respective electoral authorities
  • CED: Australian Electoral Commission federal electoral divisions
  • ADD: Bureau of Meteorology Geofabric
  • TR: Tourism Research Australia tourism regions

Positional accuracy: Positional accuracy is an assessment of the closeness of the location of spatial objects in relation to their true positions on the earth's surface.
The positional accuracy includes:

  • a horizontal accuracy assessment
  • a vertical accuracy assessment

Positional accuracy for ABS boundaries is dependent on the accuracy of the features they have been aligned to.

ABS boundaries are aligned to layers supplied by Geoscape with an accuracy of +/-50 mm. Geoscape layers and their positional accuracy are as follows:

  • Transport and Topography: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • CadLite: +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas.
  • Administrative Boundaries: Derived from the cadastre data from each Australian state and territory jurisdiction.
  • Greenspace and Hydrology: 90% of well-defined features are within 1mm (at plot scale) of their true position, for example 1:500 equates to +/- 0.5 metre and 1:25,000 equates to +/- 25 metres. Relative spatial accuracy of these themes reflects that of the jurisdictional source data. The accuracy is +/- 2 metres in urban areas and +/- 10 metres in rural and remote areas. No "shift" of data as a means of "cartographic enhancement" to facilitate presentation has been employed for any real world feature.
  • Precision: Boundary coordinates have been rounded to 8 decimal places, equivalent to 1.1132 mm at the equator. All ABS boundaries have been generalised to 5 cm with a 7.5 cm shared boundary tolerance.
  • Attribute accuracy: All codes and labels for all structures within the ASGS Edition 3 Non ABS Structures are fully validated.
  • Logical consistency: Regions are closed polygons. Attribute records without spatial objects have been included in the data for administrative purposes.
  • Completeness: All structures within the ASGS Edition 3 Non ABS Structures are represented.

XML metadata files

The compressed download files include geospatial metadata data for each region type in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. The geospatial metadata conforms to International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) geospatial metadata standard, ISO 19115:2003, and the associated XML implementation schema specified by ISO 19139:2012.

Allocation files

Allocation files are non-spatial representations of how each geography is aggregated from their building block geography. These files are available in .xlsx format. 

Downloads for allocation files

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Mesh Blocks - 2021

Statistical Areas Level 1 - 2021

Statistical Areas Level 2 - 2021

Statistical Areas Level 3 - 2021

Statistical Areas Level 4 - 2021

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas - 2021

States and Territories - 2021

Australia - 2021

Indigenous Structure

Indigenous Structure - 2021

Indigenous Locations - 2021

Indigenous Areas - 2021

Indigenous Regions - 2021

Non ABS Structures

Local Government Areas - 2021

State Electoral Divisions - 2021

Commonwealth Electoral Divisions - 2021

Postal Areas - 2021

Tourism Regions - 2021

Australian Drainage Divisions - 2021

Suburbs and Localities - 2021

Destination Zones - 2021

Destination Zones to Statistical Areas Level 2 - 2021

Metadata for allocation files

In addition to the digital boundary products, allocation files will also be made available as each section of ASGS Edition 3 is published. These allocation files list the geographic hierarchies of each of the ASGS structures. An example of the file content is listed below.

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Allocation files listing the geographic hierarchies for each of the following regions, are available for download in .xlsx format: 

  • Mesh Blocks (MB)
  • Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1)
  • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)
  • Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3)
  • Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)
  • Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA)
  • State and Territory (STE)
  • Australia (AUS)

The hierarchy is listed from the lowest level of the ASGS up.

File contents:

For example MB_2021_AUST contains all Mesh Blocks within Australia and includes the following fields:

  • MB_CODE_2021
  • MB_CATEGORY_2021
  • CHANGE_FLAG_2021
  • CHANGE_LABEL_2021
  • SA1_CODE_2021
  • SA2_CODE_2021
  • SA2_NAME_2021
  • SA3_CODE_2021
  • SA3_NAME_2021
  • SA4_CODE_2021
  • SA4_NAME_2021
  • GCCSA_CODE_2021
  • GCCSA_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021
  • STATE_NAME_2021
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

This lists the Mesh Blocks that make up the SA1s, SA2s, SA3s, SA4s, GCCSAs, State and Territory and Australia. It also gives the area in square kilometres of the Mesh Block, based on Albers Conic Equal Area projection.

Indigenous Structure

There is one allocation table in .xlsx file format that relates Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) to the Indigenous Structure hierarchy: 

  • Indigenous Structure Allocation Table

There are three .xlsx files listing the geographical hierarchies for each of the following geographies:

  • Indigenous Locations (ILOC)
  • Indigenous Areas (IARE)
  • Indigenous Regions (IREG)

The Indigenous Structure is built from aggregations of SA1s. The hierarchy is listed from the lowest level of the ASGS up and all files cover the whole of Australia.

File contents:

Indigenous_Structure_Allocation_2021 includes the following fields:

  • SA1_CODE_2021
  • ILOC_CODE_2021
  • ILOC_NAME_2021
  • IARE_CODE_2021
  • IARE_NAME_2021
  • IREG_CODE_2021
  • IREG_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021
  • STATE_NAME_2021
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

ILOC_2021_AUST includes the following fields:

  • ILOC_CODE_2021
  • ILOC_NAME_2021
  • IARE_CODE_2021
  • IARE_NAME_2021
  • IREG_CODE_2021
  • IREG_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021
  • STATE_NAME_2021
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

IARE_2021_AUST and IREG_2021_AUST include the same fields for all geographies above them in the hierarchy. All files give the area in square kilometres of each region, based on Albers Conic Equal Area projection.

Non ABS Structures

There are nine .xlsx files listing the geographical hierarchies for each of the following regions:

  • Local Government Areas (LGA)
  • State Electoral Divisions (SED)
  • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CED)
  • Postal Areas (POA)
  • Tourism Regions (TR)
  • Australian Drainage Divisions (ADD)
  • Suburbs and Localities (SAL)
  • Destination Zones (DZN)

Most Non ABS Structures list Mesh Blocks as the smallest unit used for aggregation. Tourism Regions are constructed from Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2).

File contents:

The .xlsx files generally contain the following fields:

  • <BASE_REGION>_CODE_2021 where BASE_REGION equals either Mesh Block or Statistical Area Level 2
  • <REGION>_CODE_2021 where REGION equals LGA, SED, CED, POA, TR, ADD, SAL or DZN
  • <REGION>_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021 (excluded from POA and ADD as these boundaries cross state and territory borders)
  • STATE_NAME_2021 (excluded form POA and ADD as these boundaries cross state and territory borders)
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021 (Please note this field refers to the BASE_REGION rather than the named REGION of each file)

There are two allocation files provided for Destination Zones. MB_DZN_2021_AUST contains:

  • MB_CODE_2021
  • DZN_CODE_2021
  • SA2_CODE_2021
  • SA2_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021
  • STATE_NAME_2021
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

DZN_SA2_2021_AUST contains:

  • DZN_CODE_2021
  • SA2_CODE_2021
  • SA2_NAME_2021
  • STATE_CODE_2021
  • STATE_NAME_2021
  • AUS_CODE_2021
  • AUS_NAME_2021
  • AREA_ALBERS_SQKM
  • ASGS_LOCI_URI_2021

All files give the area in square kilometres of each base region, based on Albers Conic Equal Area projection.

Correspondences

The ABS makes available an extensive range of correspondence files, in machine readable format, to help users to mathematically convert statistical data to and from geographic regions. As most ABS data relates to population, standard correspondences have a weighting calculated on the location of the population and uses population data modelled to residential address locations.

A larger set of historical ASGC and ASGS geographic correspondences are available through data.gov.au, an open data portal. The ABS uses this open data portal to help make ASGS output products accessible to a wider audience. These products can be located on data.gov.au through the ABS Geospatial Solutions page. Alternatively, search for the 'year', along with the key words such as ‘correspondence’, ‘ASGS boundaries’ or ‘coding index’ depending on the product of interest.

Downloads for correspondences

Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

2016 Mesh Blocks to 2021 Mesh Blocks

2016 Statistical Areas Level 1 to 2021 Statistical Areas Level 1

2016 Statistical Areas Level 2 to 2021 Statistical Areas Level 2

2016 Statistical Areas Level 3 to 2021 Statistical Areas Level 3

2016 Statistical Areas Level 4 to 2021 Statistical Areas Level 4

2016 Greater Capital City Statistical Areas to 2021 Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

Indigenous Structure

2016 Indigenous Locations to 2021 Indigenous Locations

2016 Indigenous Areas to 2021 Indigenous Areas

2016 Indigenous Regions to 2021 Indigenous Regions

Non ABS Structures

2016 Local Government Areas to 2021 Local Government Areas

2020 Local Government Areas to 2021 Local Government Areas

2016 State Electoral Divisions to 2021 State Electoral Divisions

2020 State Electoral Divisions to 2021 State Electoral Divisions

2016 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions to 2021 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions

2018 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions to 2021 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions

2016 Postal Areas to 2021 Postal Areas

2016 Tourism Regions to 2021 Tourism Regions

2016 Australian Drainage Divisions to 2021 Australian Drainage Divisions

2016 State Suburbs to 2021 Suburbs and Localities

2016 Destination Zones to 2021 Destination Zones

Metadata for correspondences

A suite of correspondences will be created for each of the ASGS structures between ASGS 2016 and ASGS Edition 3 (2021). The correspondence file structure and associated details are described below.

File format

This product contains geographic correspondences supplied in machine readable .csv format. 

File naming conventions

Grid based correspondences supplied by the ABS have a standard naming convention applied. The example below relates to a correspondence where 2016 Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) are being corresponded to Edition 3 (2021) SA2s.

File name: CG_SA2_2016_SA2_2021.csv

Character and meaning of the file name

Character

Meaning

C

correspondence

G

grid based correspondence

SA2

represents the name of the FROM region, in this case Statistical Area Level 2

2016

the year that this version of the FROM region was released

SA2

represents the name of the TO region, in this case Statistical Area Level 2

2021

the year that this version of the TO region was released

.csv

the format that the file is being supplied, Comma Separated Value

The correspondence worksheet

In each correspondence file, there are a set number of columns. Below is a list of these columns, along with descriptions of what information each column provides the user:

SA2_MAINCODE_2016
This is the unique numerical code representing the FROM region and in this case, the unique 2016 SA2 code.

SA2_NAME_2016
This is a textual label associated with the unique code of the FROM region, in this case it is the textual label for each 2016 SA2.

SA2_MAINCODE_2021
This is the unique numerical code representing the TO region, in this case it is the unique 2021 SA2 code.

SA2_NAME_2021
This is a textual label associated with the unique code of the TO region, in this case it is the textual label for each 2021 SA2.

RATIO_FROM_TO
This field describes the Ratio of the FROM region that is being donated to the TO region. The Ratio is a figure between 0 and 1.

INDIV_TO_REGION_QLTY_INDICATOR

This field describes how well data is likely to be converted to the “TO” region. There are three values associated with the Individual Quality Indicator:

Good – The ABS expects that for this “TO” region the correspondence will convert data to a high degree of accuracy and users can expect the converted data will reflect the actual characteristics of the geographic regions involved.

Acceptable – The ABS expects that for this “TO” region the correspondence will convert data to a reasonable degree of accuracy, though caution needs to be applied as the quality of the converted data will vary and may differ from the actual characteristics of the geographic regions involved.

Poor – The ABS expects that for this “TO” region there is a high likelihood the correspondence will not convert data accurately and that the converted data should be used with caution as it may not reflect the actual characteristics of many of the geographic regions involved.

OVERALL_QUALITY_INDICATOR

An overall quality indicator is applied to each correspondence. The aim of this is to provide users with a reasonable idea of how well the correspondence will convert data across the whole of the correspondence. There are three values associated with the Overall Quality Indicator and they are identical to those listed above for the individual quality indicator.

BMOS_NULL_FLAG

This is the acronym for the Below Minimum Output Size/Null values flag. The CSV file may contain records that are below a pre-set minimum output size (typically below a ratio of 0.01). These are records where the proportion of the “FROM” region that is being donated is very small and is deemed as being statistically insignificant. Records that fall into this category will be flagged by a specific code as described below.

Null values are records where part or all of a “FROM” region does not have a corresponding “TO” region, or vice versa. An example of when this may occur is when one geography dataset contains islands which are not included in the other dataset. If the correspondence contains Null records, they will be flagged by a specific code as described below.

BMOS_NULL_FLAG Codes

 0 – Record is not below the specified minimum output size and has both a “FROM” and “TO” region present.

1 – Record is below the specified minimum output size, but both a “FROM” and “TO” record are present.

2 – Record has a null “TO” unit.

3 – Record has a null “FROM” unit.

4 – Record is below the specified minimum output size and the “TO” unit is null.

5 – Record is below the specified minimum output size and the “FROM” unit is null.

ABS Maps

ABS Maps is an easy to use online interactive map that displays up to two ASGS boundaries at a time. Zoom to and click on a particular area of interest to bring up the code and name. Alternatively, search for a region by code or name, or search for a street address. ABS Maps are also printable. ABS Maps is the most efficient way to quickly establish what region an address is in for any ASGS boundary from 2011 to 2021, and also some older Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) boundaries. ABS Maps quickly gives a sense of the size of each geography, allowing users to make informed comparisons between boundaries.

Finding a specific ASGS area

Search for an address in ABS maps and choose a boundary type. Click in the area around the address to see the correct name and code.

Image shows a screenshot of ABS maps.

Data services and APIs

ASGS geospatial data services, or web services, and APIs allow access to the most up to date Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) digital boundaries and data without needing to store them. Data services are available for all ASGS boundaries as they are published. Some common uses for data services are mobile apps, custom geospatial web applications and infrastructure, online mapping applications (for example ArcGIS Online) and desktop mapping applications.

Choosing a data service

For guidance on choosing the correct boundary for your purposes, see the Using the ASGS section of this publication.

ASGS geospatial web service boundaries are available in three different forms – full, generalised and point layers.

  • Full ASGS layers are identical to the boundaries available for download in Shapefile and GeoPackage formats.
  • Generalised layers have been generalised to 0.000025° or 2.5m. These layers are most suitable for use in mapping applications where precision is not paramount. For example, if the map will be zoomed out to the whole of Australia, the decreased precision of a generalised layer may help your application to run faster without compromising the required level of map detail.
  • Point layers provide points for each record in a geography, along with all the associated attributes. Please note that some multi-part boundaries (for example Other Territories) may be represented by multiple points.

ASGS Web Linked Dataset services are available for use in Web Linked Data applications, including the Location Index which provides a simple, fast, robust and repeatable method for linking data using location. More information about the Location Index is available at Location Index (ga.gov.au).

How to use ASGS geospatial web services

The ASGS geospatial web services are provided as ArcGIS RESTful services and can be used in a variety of mapping software packages. Please refer to your software provider's instructions on how to import a web service. 

To open ASGS geospatial web services in Google Earth, select the relevant boundary from ASGS web service links and scroll to the bottom of the page. Select 'Generate KML' then create a document name when prompted. Choose 'Vector layers as vectors and raster layers as images' and then click 'Generate KML'. This will download a temporary file that can be opened using Google Earth. This type of file cannot be used offline. Desktop GIS applications can be used to create offline KML files.

The ASGS geospatial web services and ASGS Web Linked Dataset services can also be accessed via APIs for use by developers.

ASGS geospatial web service links

Edition 3 (2021)
Structure nameASGS geographyReference DateURL 
Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical AreasAustralia (AUS)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/AUS/MapServer
 State and Territory (S/T)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/STE/MapServer
 Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/GCCSA/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SA4/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SA3/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SA2/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SA1/MapServer
 Mesh Blocks (MBs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/MB/MapServer
Indigenous StructureIndigenous Regions (IREGs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/IREG/MapServer
 Indigenous Areas (IAREs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/IARE/MapServer
 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/ILOC/MapServer
Non ABS StructuresLocal Government Areas (LGAs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/LGA/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SED/MapServer
 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/CED/MapServer
 Postal Areas (POAs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/POA/MapServer
 Tourism Regions (TRs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/TR/MapServer
 Australian Drainage Divisions (ADDs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/ADD/MapServer
 Suburbs and Localities (SALs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/SAL/MapServer
 Destination Zones (DZNs)2021https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2021/DZN/MapServer
Edition 2 (2016)
Structure nameASGS geographyReference DateURL
Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical AreasAustralia (AUS)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/AUS/MapServer
 State and Territory (STE)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/STATE/MapServer
 Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/GCCSA/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SA4/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SA3/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SA2/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SA1/MapServer
 Mesh Blocks (MBs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/MB/MapServer
Indigenous StructureIndigenous Regions (IREGs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/IREG/MapServer
 Indigenous Areas (IAREs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/IARE/MapServer
 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/ILOC/MapServer
Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of StateSignificant Urban Areas (SUAs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SUA/MapServer
 Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/UCL/MapServer
 Section of State (SOS)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SOS/MapServer
 Section of State Range (SOSR)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SOSR/MapServer
Remoteness StructureRemoteness Areas (RAs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/RA/MapServer
Non ABS StructuresCommonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2018https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2018/CED/MapServer
 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2017https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2017/CED/MapServer
 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/CED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2020https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2020/SED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2019https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2019/SED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2018https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2018/SED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2017https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2017/SED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SED/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2020https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2020/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2019https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2019/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2018https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2018/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2017https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2017/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/LGA/MapServer
 Postal Areas (POAs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/POA/MapServer
 State Suburbs (SSCs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/SSC/MapServer
 Australian Drainage Divisions (ADDs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/ADD/MapServer
 National Resource Management Regions (NRMRs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/NRMR/MapServer
 Tourism Regions (TRs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/TR/MapServer
Not applicableDestination Zones (DZNs)2016https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2016/DZN/MapServer
Edition 1 (2011)
Structure nameASGS geographyReference dateURL
Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical AreasAustralia (AUS)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/AUST/MapServer
 State and Territory (STE)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/STE/MapServer
 Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/GCCSA/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SA4/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SA3/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SA2/MapServer
 Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SA1/MapServer
 Mesh Blocks (MBs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/MB/MapServer
Indigenous StructureIndigenous Regions (IREGs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/IREG/MapServer
 Indigenous Areas (IAREs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/IARE/MapServer
 Indigenous Locations (ILOCs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/ILOC/MapServer
Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities and Section of StateSignificant Urban Areas (SUAs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SUA/MapServer
 Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/UCL/MapServer
 Section of State (SOS)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SOS/MapServer
 Section of State Range (SOSR)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SOSR/MapServer
Remoteness StructureRemoteness Areas (RAs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/RA/MapServer
Non ABS StructuresCommonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2012https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2012/CED/MapServer
 Commonwealth Electoral Divisions (CEDs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/CED/MapServer
 State Electoral Divisions (SEDs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SED/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2015https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2015/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2014https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2014/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2013https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2013/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2012https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2012/LGA/MapServer
 Local Government Areas (LGAs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/LGA/MapServer
 Postal Area (POAs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/POA/MapServer
 State Suburb (SSCs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/SSC/MapServer
 Australian Drainage Division (ADDs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/ADD/MapServer
 Natural Resource Management Regions (NRMRs)2011https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2011/NRMR/MapServer
 Tourism Regions (TRs)2015https://geo.abs.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/ASGS2015/TR/MapServer

Methodology

Design principles of the ASGS

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is constructed on the principle that it must fulfil broad user needs for geospatially enabled statistics, while also conforming to general classification principles.

User needs

The ASGS is designed to meet broad user needs for social, demographic and economic statistics. The regions of the ASGS below the State or Territory level are designed such that they are:

  • useful and relevant for data dissemination
  • flexible for aggregation into larger geographic units
  • useful building blocks for user-defined regions

Classification principles

The ASGS is constructed on the basic classification principles that:

  • members within one class are of the same type
  • classes are uniquely defined so as to be mutually exclusive
  • in total, the members in each class cover the entire class

As a result, the regions of each hierarchical structure of the ASGS are:

  • of the same type, delimited by well-defined criteria
  • clearly defined by precise boundaries
  • uniquely identified by codes and names
  • mutually exclusive
  • in aggregate, cover the whole area to which that hierarchy applies

Design approach

The ASGS Edition 3 was designed in a GIS environment starting with Mesh Blocks and working up to Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s), Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) and then other geographies. Before beginning any changes to the ASGS the ABS conducted a review which included consultation both with key stakeholders and via the ABS Consultation Hub. Outcomes of the consultation are available in the Review outcomes for Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), 2020 publication.

Any changes made to ASGS boundaries carefully balance the need to maintain stability and continuity with the previous versions of the ASGS with the need to keep the boundaries relevant. In aid of this, 2016 ASGS boundaries were used as the base dataset and changes were focussed in two types of areas. Firstly, design was targeted at specific areas identified by ASGS users including government and the public, where the ASGS was not meeting user needs. Secondly, design was targeted at priority growth areas identified using quarterly updates to the ABS Address Register. Priority areas were generally inner-city areas and around the edges of capital cities. Changes were determined using ABS population data, local planning information and aerial imagery in conjunction with the ASGS criteria outlined in this publication. Boundaries were preferentially aligned to land parcel and property boundaries and road datasets where possible. Main Structure boundaries were updated over a period of 18 months, accounting for changes to dwellings and population over this time to ensure that boundaries are as accurate as possible on the night of the 2021 Census of Population and Housing.

Definition of Australia

The ABS uses two definitions of Australia:

  • Geographic Australia - used for social and demographic statistics.
  • Australia's Economic Territory - used for economic statistics.

Geographic Australia

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) uses the geographic definition of Australia, as set out in section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, which currently defines Australia or the Commonwealth as:

‘…the Commonwealth of Australia and, when used in a geographic sense, includes Norfolk Island, the Territory of Christmas Island and the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, but does not include any other external Territory’.

Included in this definition of Geographic Australia are the:

  • States of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania
  • Northern Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • Territory of Christmas Island
  • Jervis Bay Territory
  • Norfolk Island

Historically, Norfolk Island has been excluded from the definition of Geographic Australia. However, in 2015 the Australian Government announced reforms to the governance of Norfolk Island and from 1 July 2016 the definition of Geographic Australia (as described above) includes Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island, the Jervis Bay Territory, the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Territory of Christmas Island form the Other Territories category at the State and Territory level.

The ASGS excludes Macquarie Island, although it is legally part of Tasmania. Macquarie Island is an extremely isolated sub-Antarctic island in the Southern Ocean. It has no permanent population. Any population on Macquarie Island, for example on scientific expeditions, is recorded in the Census of Population and Housing and is included in the ‘Migratory - Offshore - Shipping’ Statistical Area Level 2 for Tasmania.

Australia’s Economic Territory

Australia’s Economic Territory is defined in the Standard Economic Sector Classification of Australia and is used solely for the production of statistics. Australia's Economic Territory differs from Geographic Australia in that it also includes:

  • Australian Antarctic Territory
  • Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Territory of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Islands
  • Coral Sea Islands
  • Australian territorial enclaves overseas

The ASGS does not use Australia’s Economic Territory definition.

Exclusions from Geographic and Economic Australia

Both the geographic and economic definitions of Australia exclude foreign governments' territorial enclaves (for example embassies, consulates, scientific stations, information and immigration offices) located in Australia. Statistics are not collected or produced for the areas covered by these enclaves; however, for simplicity of production and use of the ASGS these areas are not excluded from the definition of ASGS regions or the geospatial representation of these ASGS regions in ABS products and services.

Glossary of key terms

Area

Area is a generalised term that can be used when referring to part or parts of the Earth’s surface and is used interchangeably with regions throughout the ASGS publication.

Boundaries

Boundaries are lines drawn on the Earth’s surface to separate different areas or regions.

Functional area

A functional area is the area from which people come to access services at a centre. This centre may be a rural town, a regional city, a commercial and transport hub within a major city, or the major city itself.

Geographic area

A term used to describe the defined areas that make up each of the ASGS structures. For example, Mesh Blocks are the smallest geographic areas defined by the ABS.

Geographies

A term that in the context of the ASGS, refers to the individual structures that make up the classification.

Locality

The ABS approximation of locality relates to the Urban Centre and Locality (UCL) Structure where a Locality is generally a population centre of between 200 and 999 'usual residents', however, a Locality may contain a population exceeding 1,000 people if it does not meet the criteria for an Urban Centre.

Also see Suburbs and Localities.

Location

Location is a general term to describe a place on or near the surface of the Earth. Location data is information that has any location component and is often used when referring to geospatial information.

Postcodes

An Australian postcode is a four digit code created and maintained by Australia Post to guide the delivery of mail. As this is a commonly recognised code, many people use it as a general geographic region for their data. The ABS creates approximate postcode boundaries using Mesh Blocks, called Postal Areas (POAs). Authoritative boundaries for postcodes are not publicly available, and postcodes are not recommended as a source of geocoding information.

Also see Postal Areas.

Postal Areas

The ABS Postal Areas (POA) are part of the ASGS Non ABS Structures. Since the 2016 edition of the ASGS, POAs have been built up from Mesh Blocks. The allocation of Mesh Blocks to POAs was determined using the best available information on postcodes. Authoritative boundaries for postcodes are not publicly available, and postcodes are not recommended as a source of geocoding information.

Also see Postcodes.

Region

Region is a general term for a geographic area or boundary of any type: for example Suburb, Local Government Area, Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) to Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4), Remoteness Areas. A region may include all or part of an urbanised area, including capital cities.

Regional

Regional is a term that refers to those areas that fall outside of a major city. Inner Regional Australia and Outer Regional Australia are categories within the ASGS Remoteness Structure.

Remote Australia

Remote Australia is a category in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Remoteness Structure and has an SA1 average ARIA+ value greater than 2.4 and less than or equal to 5.92.

Rural

Rural is a term that refers to those areas which are not part of any ‘Urban' area in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Section of State (SOS) Structure. The Bounded Locality and Rural Balance categories of SOS make up 'Rural' Australia.

Social geography

Social geography reflects the location of people and communities.

Statistical Areas

Statistical Areas are geographic units defined in the ASGS as a part of the Main Structure classification (for example Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1), Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) etc).

Statistical Geography

A statistical geography is a structure made up of individual geographic units which together cover the entire area on which statistics are collected, analysed and shared. For the ASGS the area covered is Geographic Australia.

Suburb

See Suburbs and Localities.

Suburbs and Localities

Suburbs and Localities (SALs) are part of the ASGS Non ABS Structures. SALs are created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that, as closely as possible, approximate the suburbs and localities that are built and maintained by Geoscape Australia using government data. The ABS SALs are approximated using one or more Mesh Blocks from the ASGS.

SALs were referred to as State Suburbs (SSCs) in previous versions of the ASGS.

Towns

The ABS does not explicitly define towns. However, the ABS approximates urban areas and localities (or rural suburbs) with populations of over 200 people in Urban Centres and Localities (UCLs). There are many small towns with populations of less than 200 people which are not included as UCLs. These small towns and other urban areas are generally represented by State Government Localities, and these are represented in the ASGS in the Suburbs and Localities (SAL) classification (formerly referred to as State Suburbs (SSCs)).

Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)

An attribute on all ASGS boundaries which can be used in web linked data applications.

Urban

The ABS defines 'Urban' in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Section of State (SOS) Structure as areas which are not part of any 'Rural' area. The 'Major Urban' and 'Other Urban' categories of SOS are considered to make up 'Urban' Australia.

Urban Centre and Locality

The Urban Centre and Locality (UCL) Structure is part of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

An 'Urban Centre' is generally a population centre with a 'core urban population' of 1,000 or more people. A 'Locality' is generally a population centre of between 200 and 999 people. People living in Urban Centres are classified as urban for statistical purposes, while those in 'Localities' are classified as rural.

Abbreviations

ABS

Australian Bureau of Statistics

ACT

Australian Capital Territory

ADD

Australian Drainage Division

AEC

Australian Electoral Commission

ARIA+

Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia

ASGC

Australian Standard Geographical Classification

ASGS

Australian Statistical Geography Standard

AUS

Australia

CED

Commonwealth Electoral Division

DZN

Destination Zone

GCCSA

Greater Capital City Statistical Area

GDA94

Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994

GDA2020

Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020

IARE

Indigenous Area

ILOC

Indigenous Location

IREG

Indigenous Region

LGA

Local Government Area

MB

Mesh Block

NSW

New South Wales

NRMR

Natural Resource Management Region

NT

Northern Territory

OT

Other Territories

POA

Postal Area

QLD

Queensland

RA

Remoteness Area

SA

South Australia

SA1

Statistical Area Level 1

SA2

Statistical Area Level 2

SA3

Statistical Area Level 3

SA4

Statistical Area Level 4

SAL

Suburbs and Localities

SED

State Electoral Division

SOS

Section of State

SOSR

Section of State Range

S/T

State or Territory

STE

State or Territory

SUA

Significant Urban Area

Tas.

Tasmania

TR

Tourism Region

UCL

Urban Centres and Localities

Vic.

Victoria

WA

Western Australia