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Gazetted Localities & State Suburbs

What are Gazetted Localities?

Gazetted Localities are the officially recognised boundaries of suburbs (in cities and larger towns) and localities (outside cities and larger towns). Since 1996 these boundaries have been formalised for most areas of Australia through a program coordinated by the Committee for Geographical Names in Australasia (CGNA), under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM).

Gazetted Localities cover most of Australia. Presently there remain areas of rural South Australia and rural Australian Capital Territory that are undefined. Various islands offshore from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania and some inshore water areas and islands are also undefined.

Because Gazetted Localities are a well understood and easily collected component of an address, they can be used to link statistical data to a geographic area for spatial analysis. The ABS provides coding indexes that can be used to link data collected with a suburb or locality to standard ABS geographic areas – for example, linking Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) within the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) to Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). This enables data to be compared with a range of other ABS data released on both the ASGC and ASGS. For a full list of available coding indexes, please view the ‘Correspondences’ chapter of the ABS Statistical Geography website: http://www.abs.gov.au/geography.

What are State Suburbs and what is their purpose?

State Suburbs (SSCs) are an ABS approximation of Gazetted Localities as described above. SSCs are approximated using one or more Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) from the ASGS. SA1s are the smallest geographic areas on which most 2011 Census data are released.

SSCs are created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that, as closely as possible, approximate Gazetted Localities.

SSCs cover most, but not all, of Australia, as described under the Gazetted Localities heading above.

Diagram 1 illustrates how SSCs (in orange) relate to other ABS and non-ABS structures.

Diagram 1 ASGS non-ABS structures and 2011 SLA
Diagram illustrating the relationship between SSCs and othe ABS and Non-ABS Structures.

How were SSCs created?

The boundaries and statistics produced for SSCs were constructed from whole SA1s.

Each SA1 was allocated the name of the Gazetted Locality that was estimated to contain the highest proportion of ‘population’ from that SA1. As a result, there are Gazetted Localities which do not appear in the SSC classification. This occurs in cases where:
  • an SA1 covers two or more Gazetted Localities and the SA1 can only be allocated to one Gazetted Locality
  • more than one SA1 partially covers a Gazetted Locality but all the SA1s are allocated to other Gazetted Localities with which they also share area.

How well do SSCs represent the Gazetted Locality of the same name?

The ABS is aware that the allocation of SA1s to SSCs is not always an accurate representation of the Gazetted Locality. As a result, a series of confidence values have been derived based on the percentage of common population to indicate how accurate a representation the SSCs are.
    The values that are applied to each SSC are:
    • 94% and above common population - very good
    • 88% to less than 94% common population - good
    • 75% to less than 88% common population - acceptable
    • 50% to less than 75% common population - poor
    • Less than 50% common population - very poor.

    Confidence values are available as attributes in both the SSC digital boundaries and in the SSC comma-separated value (.csv) files as part of the following online publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

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

    2011 SSCs are based on Gazetted Localities data obtained from the PSMA Australia Limited (February 2011). Where the same name appears in different states or territories, the state or territory abbreviation appears in parentheses after the name. Where the name is duplicated within a state or territory an identifying name based on the Local Government Area (LGA) name, plus the state or territory abbreviation is used. SSC names are therefore unique across Australia.

    There is no relationship between SSCs and LGAs – the name is used only to differentiate between duplicate names within a state or territory.

    What data will be available on SSCs?

    Data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will be available for SSCs.

    Where can I get the SSC boundaries?

    SSC boundaries are available in MapInfo Interchange and ESRI Shapefile formats and can be downloaded from the ‘ABS Geography Publications’ chapter of the ABS Statistical Geography website: http://www.abs.gov.au/geography.

    DataPacks contain 2011 Census Community Profile data for all of Australia and corresponding digital boundary map files. To find out more about DataPacks, visit the DataPacks page.

    Where can I get further information?

    A detailed discussion of the SSCs and the criteria used in their design can be found at: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 – Non ABS Structures, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

    More information on the ASGS and ABS Statistical Geography can be found by visiting the ABS website: http://www.abs.gov.au/geography.

    Any questions or comments can be emailed to geography@abs.gov.au.

    Fact sheets


    • Gazetted Localities & State Suburbs

    Enumeration procedures

    2006 fact sheets