Report on the Audit of Health Workforce in Rural and Regional Australia

Attachment E - Remoteness classification systems

Page last updated: April 2008

Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas Classification (RRMA)

The Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification was introduced in 1994 as a general purpose tool to assist in decision making relevant to rural and remote areas. RRMA allocates areas into seven categories from "Capital city" through to "Other remote area" based on a combination of straight-line distance from urban centres of various sizes and population density.

The classification is based on population figures and Statistical Local Area boundaries as at the 1991 census. There has been no official update of the RRMA classification. Population growth or redistribution since 1991 is not reflected.

RRMA

Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas Classification categorises geographic areas into an index of remoteness according to population size based on the 1991 Census.

Urban

RRMA 1 - Capital city
State and territory capital city statistical divisions

RRMA 2 - Other Metropolitan centre
One or more statistical subdivisions that have an urban centre with a population of 100,000 or more

Rural and Remote

RRMA 3 - Large rural centre
SLAs where most of the population resides in urban centres with a population of 25,000 or more

RRMA 4 - Small rural centre
SLAs in rural zones containing urban centres with populations between 10,000 and 24,999

RRMA 5 - Other rural area
All remaining SLAs in the rural zone

RRMA 6 - Remote centre
SLAs in the remote zone containing populations of 5,000 or more

RRMA 7 - Other remote area
All remaining SLAs in the remote zone

Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area was developed in 2001 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a statistical geography that allowed quantitative comparisons between 'city' and 'country' Australia. The purpose of the structure is to classify census collection districts (CDs) which share common characteristics of remoteness into broad geographical regions called Remoteness Areas (RAs). The defining difference between 'city' and 'country' is physical remoteness from goods and services.

The Remoteness structure is updated each census, commencing with the census year 2001.

The delimitation criteria for RAs are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC) and the National Key Centre for Social Applications of GIS (GISCA). ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre in each five size classes.

There are six RAs in this classification.
  1. Major Cities of Australia: CDs with an average Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) index value of 0 to 0.2
  2. Inner Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 0.2 and less than or equal to 2.4
  3. Outer Regional Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 2.4 and less than or equal to 5.92
  4. Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 5.92 and less than or equal to 10.53
  5. Very Remote Australia: CDs with an average ARIA index value greater than 10.53
  6. Migratory: composed of off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs.