ABS Consultation Hub

Welcome to the ABS Consultation Hub where you can find and participate in our public consultations.

The hub provides information on new ABS projects and makes sharing your ideas and giving feedback easy. We will use the hub to keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge your concerns and aspirations, and provide feedback on how public input influenced our decisions.

Recently added consultations are displayed below. Alternatively, search for consultations by keyword, postcode, interest etc.

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes.

We Asked

In preparation for the 2021 edition of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) the ABS has been consulting with stakeholders to ensure this framework is still meeting user needs. Between May and July 2019, we invited all stakeholders to contribute their views and provide feedback on the ASGS.

You Said

A total of 75 submissions were received with major representations from Commonwealth Government Departments (22%), State Government Departments (18%) and Businesses (18%).

A summary of feedback is presented below:

Urban Centres and Localities

  • 67% of respondents were positive about using Mesh Blocks as the building blocks of Urban Centres and Localities. They noted that urban areas would be more accurately defined using Mesh Blocks, especially on the fringe of urban centres. 5% of respondents were negative about the proposed changes, with the main concerns being: less data available at the Mesh Block level and less stability over time.
  • Regarding allowing non-contiguous Urban Centres, 37% of respondents did not foresee any issues, noting that it would provide a more accurate definition of urban and rural areas. However, 19% of respondents did raise issues such as; difficulties in spatial analysis, difficulties in mapping Urban Centres, and non-contiguous Urban Centres crossing other boundaries (such as Local Government Areas).
  • 76% of submissions supported the inclusion of a Rural Residential category, with no oppositions to the inclusion. Respondents commented on the increasing need for a definition of this type of settlement to enable consistent statistical analysis.
  • The density criteria proposed for identifying Rural Residential Mesh Blocks received a wide range of responses. 47% or respondents supported the proposed criteria and 5% did not. Supportive respondents agreed that the proposed density criteria of >25 psns per sqkm would accurately reflect areas of rural residential character. However, there was concern from other respondents that this density threshold would be too low and capture some rural areas as a result.

Commonwealth and State Electoral Divisions

63% of respondents were positive and 5% were negative about building CEDs and SEDs from Mesh Blocks rather than SA1s. Respondents who were positive said that this change will result in more accurate electoral boundary approximations and allow for more precise data analysis. However, there was also concern around having less data available at the Mesh Block level.

Environmental Boundaries

65% of respondents said that they do not use Natural Resource Management Regions (NRMRs) and Australian Drainage Divisions, and only 9% of respondents find them to be useful.

A number of other environmental boundaries were suggested for inclusion in the ASGS, these included:

  • Flood maps
  • Water and sewerage distribution areas
  • Climate classifications
  • Weather districts

Coding Structure

On the removal of short codes for SA1s and SA2s, 43% were positive and 12% were negative. Many see the use of two different codes confusing, and consider that long codes are preferable as they are clear and hierarchical. The main reasons why respondents were not supportive of this change were that; short codes are easier to display, they are easier to reference, and it is difficult to change systems that have already integrated short codes.

Improving the ASGS and Design Principles

Overall, respondents were supportive of the ASGS design principles and thought they were comprehensive. Coherence was commonly recognised as being the most important principle, especially as it contributes to stability and consistency across the statistical boundaries. Consistency around growth areas was identified as an issue, along with ASGS boundaries needing to be consistently named across ABS products. Additionally, several comments were made in relation to the Interpretability principle, particularly that more effort should be placed on the alignment of boundaries to significant and stable boundaries.

A total of 49 specific boundary change requests were received, ranging from SA4 down to SA1 level. Each of these detailed boundary suggestions will be considered in 2021 design.

We Did

The ABS is currently in the process of analysing these submissions in detail and incorporating the input into our decision making process for the 2021 ASGS design process. We will be publishing an information paper outlining the broad changes to the 2021 edition of the ASGS that will incorporate this input along with further research.

We Asked

In late 2017, the ABS began consulting with key users of Census data to determine whether there should be changes or additions to the topics to be included in the 2021 Census. Between April and June 2018, a formal consultation process invited all interested parties to contribute their views on the topics that are important to be collected in the next Census. Emerging data needs and details of the consultation were outlined in a publication released on 3 Apr 2018 (cat. no. 2007.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Topics, 2021).

You Said

In total, 450 submissions were received, with 315 published with consent on the ABS Consultation Hub. A summary of results and topic directions being explored by the ABS were published on 14 Nov 2018 in cat. no. 2007.0.55.001 - Census of Population and Housing: Topic Directions, 2021.

We Did

Recommendations will be presented to Government in mid-2019 for decision on the 2021 Census topics. The final list of topics to be included in the Census will be published by the ABS in an information paper (cat. no. 2008.0) expected to be released in late 2020.