Abstract: In order to systematically tailor services to meet the needs of Australians living in regional Australia, ‘remoteness’ (identified with lack of accessibility to services regarded as normal in metropolitan areas) needs to be defined. In 1996-97, the National Key Centre for Social Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GISCA) was commissioned to assist with a number of aspects of the ABS review of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). This review included investigating the measuring of remoteness in a more or less objective way. They recommended applying Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to do so. ABS did not proceed with defining remoteness as suggested at that stage in the review of the ASGC. The Department of Health and Aged Care commissioned GISCA to work with them (under a steering committee of user Departments and the ABS) to develop a GIS methodology to produce a remoteness index and associated classification, along with a database of road, locality and service information. The resulting Accessibility/Remoteness Index for Australia (ARIA) was designed to be comprehensive, sufficiently detailed, as simple as possible, transparent, defensible, and stable over time - and to make sense ‘on the ground’. ARIA was also designed to be an unambiguously geographical approach to defining remoteness. That is socio-economic, urban/rural and population size factors are not considered for incorporation into the measure. ARIA calculates remoteness as accessibility to some 201 service centres based on road distances. Remoteness values for 11,340 populated localities are derived from the road distance to service centres in four categories (a weighting factor is applied for islands). Remoteness values for each populated locality are then interpolated to a 1 km grid that covers the whole of Australia and averages calculated for larger areas. To create an associated classification, ARIA values are grouped into five categories using ‘natural breaks’ in the 0 – 12 continuous variable: 1. Highly Accessible (ARIA score 0 - 1.84) - relatively unrestricted accessibility to a wide range of goods and services and opportunities for social interaction. 2. Accessible (ARIA score >1.84 - 3.51) - some restrictions to accessibility of some goods, services and opportunities for social interaction. 3. Moderately Accessible (ARIA score >3.51 -5.80) - significantly restricted accessibility of goods, services and opportunities for social interaction. 4. Remote (ARIA score >5.80 - 9.08) - very restricted accessibility of goods, services and opportunities for social interaction. 5. Very Remote (ARIA score >9.08 - 12) - very little accessibility of goods, services and opportunities for social interaction.