The principal approaches used for measuring remoteness in Australia have been:

    the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification
    the remoteness classification based on the Accessibility/ Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA)
    Remoteness Areas (RAs) defined under the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC).
( AIHW 2004)
The methodological bases of these approaches are described in Appendix H. The ARIA remoteness classification and ASGC-RAs are closely related. The former is based on the ARIA index. ASGC-RAs are based on the ARIA+ index (see Table 6 and Appendix H). Figure 4 presents a map of Australia with the Remoteness Areas identified based on the 2006 Census.

Table 6 – Structure of ASGC Remoteness Areas (RA) classification
Grouping Code ARIA+ range
Major cities RA1 0–0.2
Inner regional RA2 > 0.2 - 2.4
Outer regional RA3 >2.4–5.92
Remote RA4 >5.92–10.53
Very remote RA5 >10.53

Source: AIHW 2004


All three remoteness classifications have been used in MSOAP at various stages. The RRMA was used initially in weighting populations to determine allocations of available funds across jurisdictions. The classification based on ARIA has been used since the early 2000’s for determining the eligibility of outreach services and their priority under MSOAP Core. The ASGC-RAs have been used under MSOAP-ICD, MSOAP Ophthalmology and MSOAP-MS to determining the eligibility of outreach services and their priority. From 1 July all the MSOAP programs will be using the ASGC-RAs as the basis for determining eligibility and priorities.
The ASGC-RAs have been adopted as the preferred geographical classification for most Australian Government programs since 2008. They are also used widely for the presentation of statistical information by the ABS and the AIHW.

Source: ABS 2011cTop of page