Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA 2006)

Introduction of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA 2006) systems

Note: the layers on the map locator have been generalised by 40 metres to enable reasonable load times in the web environment.

What is ASGC-RA (2006)?

ASGC-RA (2006) is a geographic classification system that was developed in 2001 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), as a statistical geography structure which allows quantitative comparisons between 'city' and 'country' Australia.

The purpose of the structure is to classify data from census Collection Districts (CDs) into broad geographical categories, called Remoteness Areas (RAs). The RA categories are defined in terms of ‘remoteness’ - the physical distance of a location from the nearest Urban Centre (access to goods and services) based on population size. A primary advantage of the new classification system is that the remoteness structure is updated each census, which commenced with the census year 2001. It was updated recently on 8 November 2007 after the 2006 census.

What are the RA Categories?

RAs make up the ASGC-RA (2006) classification system. The RA categories are listed below, with workforce incentives available for categories ranging between RA2 to RA5.

RA1 - Major Cities of Australia
RA2 - Inner Regional Australia
RA3 - Outer Regional Australia
RA4 - Remote Australia
RA5 - Very Remote Australia

How is RA Calculated?

RAs are aggregations of ABS Collection Districts (CDs), which share common characteristics of remoteness. The RA classification includes all CDs, thereby covering the whole of geographic Australia.

Remoteness is calculated using the road distance to the nearest Urban Centre in each of five classes based on population size. The key element in producing the RA structure is the preparation of the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+) grid – a statistical geography structure created by the National Key Centre for Social Applications of Geographic Information System (GISCA), Adelaide University, South Australia.

ARIA+ scores are first calculated for each Urban Centre, in 1km square grids. These are then added together, covering the whole geography of Australia. Each grid square carries a score of remoteness from an index of scores ranging from zero through to 15.

RAs are created by averaging the ARIA+ scores within CDs, then aggregating the CDs up into the 5 RA categories based on the averaged ARIA+ score.

What is the RA classification of my locality?

A Map Locator is integrated into the Australian Government’s Doctor Connect website and is available online via:

The Map Locator allows users to choose a location anywhere in Australia and instantly view details on the RA classification and incentives available.

The RA Locator can assist health professionals to make informed decisions about where they want to work, through offering accurate information about programs and incentives available for specific locations.

When is the ASGC-RA (2006) classification system to be introduced?

The ASGC-RA (2006) classification system will be phased in from 1 July 2009.

Which programs will switch to RA classification?

Incentive fact sheets containing specific details regarding incentives and programs relevant to each of the RA classifications can be found on the Map Locator via

What is the grandparenting clause?

‘Grandparenting’ refers to the transition arrangements, which will allow those doctors who may be disadvantaged by the change to the ASGC-RA (2006) classification system to continue to access the same benefits. Grandparenting arrangements will generally apply for a period of three years from the 1st of July 2010.

Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA)

From July 2009 many Rural Health Programs transitioned from the old 1991 RRMA classification scheme to the new 2006 Remoteness Area classification scheme.

Please note the RRMA classification presented on the Map Locator is indicative only. For precise RRMA classification of an area please contact DoctorConnect.