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.
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.