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What we mean when we talk about regional, remote and rural Australia


One third of all Australians live outside of major capital cities – approximately 8.8 million Australians.

It is for these residents that Regional Arts Australia exists – to support, nurture and engage artists, arts organisations, communities and audiences across regional, remote and rural Australia.

While the terms regional, remote and rural are widely used, there is no steadfast, widely accepted definition of what is considered regional, remote and rural. We know that the term regional Australia can be polarising and not all-encompassing so we would like to unequivocally say that we support inner regional, outer regional, remote, very remote, and rural artists, arts practitioners, arts organisations, audiences and communities.

We understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach and different communities have vastly different wants and needs. We endeavour to tailor our support, programs and advocacy work so that they benefit the diverse communities and locations across regional, remote and rural Australia.

Classification Systems

Different organisations and institutions classify regional, remote and rural in different ways. The below will hopefully go some way to explaining different classifications and what we consider to be regional, remote and rural.

The Modified Monash Model (MMM) is a geographical classification system developed in 2015 that categorises metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness and town size. This model uses seven categories to define locations. The Regional Arts Fund uses the Modified Monash Model to determine the classification of a location receiving funding. Regional Arts Fund applicants must reside in a postcode outside MMM1.

For example, Melbourne, VIC is MMM1; Hobart, TAS is MMM2; Gympie, QLD is MMM3; Byron Bay, NSW is MMM4; Denmark, WA is MMM5; Alice Springs, NT is MMM6; and Oodnadatta, SA is MMM7.

Many national and government institutions are now using the above model as a replacement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics remote classification system (the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas) which was based on data from the 2006 census and which uses five categories to classify locations – major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote.

Interested in knowing more? Here are some other links that we find useful: