1270.0.55.005 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2018   
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The concept of remoteness is dynamic. As measured by the ARIA+ methodology it changes over time as population centres change size and road networks are improved. Because of this, each edition of Remoteness Areas will change in comparison with the previous edition. Using an objective and consistent 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.

Changes occur to Remoteness Areas due to one or more of the reasons listed below:

    • Urban Centres and Localities can change in population. This can impact the service centre category they are allocated to in the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+) that is used to calculate remoteness. This can affect the ARIA+ score allocated to these Urban Centres and potentially the surrounding areas as well.
    • Urban Centres and Localities can expand in size geographically. Although this may not change the service centre category in ARIA+, it changes the ARIA+ score for the growth areas of that Urban Centre and potentially the surrounding areas as well.
    • Changes to road networks can impact the distances to the various sized Urban Centres used in ARIA+. This changes the ARIA+ scores allocated to areas connected by these roads.
    • Changes to Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) boundaries can impact the average ARIA+ score that is calculated for individual SA1s.

For more information on ARIA+ see https://www.adelaide.edu.au/hugo-centre/spatial data/aria/

The nature of the changes between the 2011 and 2016 Remoteness Areas can be measured by looking at the 2016 Census population in areas that have changed from one Remoteness Area category to another between 2011 and 2016. This is summarised in Table 1 below.

Table 1: 2016 Census population that has changed Remoteness Areas between 2011 and 2016


FromTo2016 Population That Has Changed

Population That Has Become Less Remote Due To Changes In Remoteness Areas

Very Remote AustraliaRemote Australia3795
Remote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia8595
Outer Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia57085
Inner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia101194

Population That Has Become More Remote Due To Changes In Remoteness Areas

Major Cities of AustraliaInner Regional Australia4904
Inner Regional AustraliaOuter Regional Australia4106
Outer Regional AustraliaRemote Australia1731
Remote AustraliaVery Remote Australia10524


In general, changes to remoteness primarily result in areas becoming less remote as Urban Centres increase in size and the road network is improved. Between 2011 and 2016, Major Cities have expanded out to incorporate some areas that were previously Inner Regional, with these areas containing just over 100,000 people in 2016. There have also been a number of areas where Inner Regional areas have expanded into Outer Regional, and these areas contained around 57,000 people in 2016. Changes between Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas have involved much smaller populations, which reflects the sparseness of population in these areas.

Unusually, between 2011 and 2016, some parts of the Remote category have changed to be Very Remote – an area containing around 10,000 people in 2016. This is a result of declining population in Carnarvon and Kununurra resulting in changes to their category size in the ARIA+ classification. Consequently, this has reduced the remoteness score for these towns and the surrounding areas. Other Urban Centres and Localities that have changed Remoteness Area category are shown in Table 2 below.

To understand change in Remoteness Areas in more detail users can access a geographic correspondence file between Remoteness Areas from 2011 and 2016 in the downloads tab of this publication. Boundaries of the 2011 and 2016 Remoteness Areas can be compared in detail using the online interactive mapping tool, ABS Maps.

Table 2: Urban Centres and Localities that have changed Remoteness Areas between 2011 and 2016


Urban Centre and Locality NameState/TerritoryRemoteness Area 2011Remoteness Area 2016

Very Remote Australia to Remote Australia

BourkeNew South WalesVery Remote AustraliaRemote Australia
Injune (L)QueenslandVery Remote AustraliaRemote Australia
Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)Northern TerritoryVery Remote AustraliaRemote Australia

Remote Australia to Outer Regional Australila

Hopetoun (L)(Vic.)VictoriaRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
CardwellQueenslandRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Nebo (L)QueenslandRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Hideaway Bay - Dingo Beach (L)QueenslandRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Duaringa (L)QueenslandRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
LeemanWestern AustraliaRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Green HeadWestern AustraliaRemote AustraliaOuter Regional Australia

Outer Regional Regional to Inner Regional Australia

UrallaNew South WalesOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
Mount Beauty - Tawonga SouthVictoriaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
MortlakeVictoriaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
Venus Bay (L)VictoriaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
TawongaVictoriaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
MurgonQueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
CherbourgQueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
YarramanQueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
ErakalaQueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
FarleighQueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
Mount GambierSouth AustraliaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
ClareSouth AustraliaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
Saddleworth (L)South AustraliaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
LatrobeTasmaniaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia
Richmond (L)(Tas.)TasmaniaOuter Regional AustraliaInner Regional Australia

Inner Regional Australia to Major Cities of Australia

MurwillumbahNew South WalesInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
WallaciaNew South WalesInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Mulgoa (L)New South WalesInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Manangle (L)New South WalesInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Bacchus MarshVictoriaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
BeveridgeVictoriaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
GembrookVictoriaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
RockbankVictoriaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Hopetoun Park (L)VictoriaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
YarrabilbaQueenslandInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Kiels Mountain (L)QueenslandInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
WillungaSouth AustraliaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
YanchepWestern AustraliaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia
Herne Hill (L)Western AustraliaInner Regional AustraliaMajor Cities of Australia

Major Cities of Australia to Inner Regional Australia

One Tree Hill (L)South AustraliaMajor Cities of AustraliaInner Regional Australia

Inner Regional Australia to Outer Regional Australia

Crescent Head (L)New South WalesInner Regional AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Repton (L)New South WalesInner Regional AustraliaOuter Regional Australia
Port Wakefield (L)South AustraliaInner Regional AustraliaOuter Regional Australia

Outer Regional Australia to Remote Australia

Dunwich (L)QueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaRemote Australia
Glenden (L)QueenslandOuter Regional AustraliaRemote Australia

Remote Australia to Very Remote Australia

CarnarvonWestern AustraliaRemote AustraliaVery Remote Australia
KununurraWestern AustraliaRemote AustraliaVery Remote Australia

Other Changes

Norfolk Island (L)Other TerritoriesNot IncludedVery Remote Australia