Remoteness Structure

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Remoteness Structure

Remoteness Areas divide Australia into 5 classes of remoteness on the basis of a measure of relative access to services. Remoteness Areas are intended for the purpose of releasing and analysing statistical data to inform research and policy development in Australia.

Access to services are measured using the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), produced by the Hugo Centre for Population and Migration Studies. This objective process for classifying Remoteness Areas creates consistency between different editions of Remoteness Areas despite changes to the boundaries. This allows users to make comparisons and undertake statistical analysis on data published on Remoteness Areas over time.

A map of the 2016 Remoteness Areas is shown below. Users can examine the current and past Remoteness Area boundaries in more detail using ABS Maps.

Map of the 2016 Remoteness Areas for Australia

Map of the 2016 Remoteness Areas for Australia

Map detailing the 5 different 2016 Remoteness Area categories. The map shows areas shaded in light to dark green colours, to demonstrate Very remote Australia, Remote Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Inner Regional Australia and Major Cities of Australia respectively.

Remoteness Structure files, digital boundaries, maps, correspondences and a manual detailing the Remoteness Structure are available from the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Volume 5 – Remoteness Structure (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005) publication.

History of the Remoteness Structure

Until the implementation of the remoteness structure there was no mechanism to reflect the concept of remoteness within the ABS Statistical Geography. During the late 1990's a number of Commonwealth Government consultative processes established a need for such a classification. The 1996-97 ABS review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) considered the issue of remoteness and at the same time the then Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (DH&AC) commissioned research into the development of a geographic measure of remoteness by the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). (GISCA is now incorporated into the Hugo Centre for Population and Migration Studies.) This research led to the construction of the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA).

During 2000 the ABS consulted on the design and construction of the Remoteness Structure. Details of this consultation are provided in 1244.0 - Information Paper: ABS Views on Remoteness, 2001 and 1244.0.00.001 - Information Paper: Outcomes of ABS Views on Remoteness Consultation, Australia, Jun 2001. The result of the consultation process was the creation of the ASGC Remoteness Structure based on an extended version of the original ARIA methodology called ARIA+. ARIA+ is widely used within the Australian community and has become recognised as a nationally consistent measure of geographic remoteness.

For information on how ARIA+ is used in the design of the Remoteness Areas see the Remoteness Area publication.

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