Provision of Infrastructure and data integration

Provision of infrastructure and data integration for functional economic regions

This project will provide end user researchers with a regional breakdown which more closely reflects assumptions involved in using spatial statistics and regression modelling.
It does this by more closely aligning the Functional Regions with the concept of a local labour market, and where the demand for and supply of labour is matched. This project extends the original project by this name to include the 2011 Census data.


Project Overview

This project updates the CofFEE Functional Economic Regions (CFER) geography that was previously produced for the 2006 Census. The new regions are based on the 2011 Census and use Statistical Area 2s (SA2s) as the base spatial unit upon which the FERs are designed.

The regions are designed based on economic behaviour, specifically commuting flows between SA2s. The commuting flows are employed in the Intramax procedure, a hierarchical clustering algorithm that emphasises interaction between areas, to aggregate areas together that exhibit interconnectedness through their workers’ commutes.

Using economic behaviour to design regions allows those regions to more closely represent labour markets and in turn the labour market data collected and disseminated for the regions will be more meaningful. The project provides end users, who are spatial researchers, with the tools needed to help inform policy development.

Project Outputs

  • Background Intellectual Property – made available for AURIN to facilitate the completion of the project.

This will be made available from the past research done to create the CFERs.

  • Help desk capacity (telephone and email responses during business hours).

Provision to all AURIN users with a help desk service during business hours via telephone and email. We integrate AURIN needs into the normal help desk service we provide to current users of our existing software and data sets (for example, our labour market indicators and vulnerability indexes).

  • Provision of digitised boundaries (shapefiles) for the CFERs.

Digitised boundaries produced for each of the following on a national basis and made available in standard GIS formats:

  1. Main Functional Economic Regions
  2. Gender-based Functional Economic Regions
  3. Occupational-based Functional Economic Regions
  4. Experimental mode of commuting Functional Economic Regions
  • Provision of extensive socio-economic spatial datasets to end-users for all CFER-aggregations (as per Data List) and metadata entry of these datasets into the AURIN metadata tool.

Deliver extensive socio-economic spatial datasets to end-users for all FER-aggregations. The datasets are downloadable after compilation. Including:

  1. Full labour force data
  2. Population
  3. Demographic characteristics
  4. Housing

We expect to refine the list of data to be provided after consultation with AURIN staff so as to maximise the cross-Lens consistency.

  • Provision of extensive online technical and instruction manuals.

Online technical and instruction manuals not only provide an explanation of the scientific aspects of the FERs (statistical methods, etc) but also provide documentation of construction, use, variations, limitations and suggested applications.

The instruction manuals include a full release of the FER names with unique FER identifiers and geo-coding information.

  • Facilitate interactive use of the CFER infrastructure, specifically CFER and Concordant by AURIN end users via connectivity via the AURIN portal.

CofFEE will run a dedicated map server for this purpose and work with AURIN technical staff to ensure connectivity with the AURIN portal is effective including the authentication protocols.

  • Provision of all essential network and infrastructure to serve the CFERs and related data to end-users

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity at the University of Newcastle provides a guarantee to AURIN to provide all essential network and infrastructure to serve the FERs and related data to end-users, including the open-sourced MySQL and Postgres databases, open-sourced map server (Geoserver) and all processing code.

  • Provision of concordant datasets between the 2006 and 2011 Census collections including entry of metadata into the AURIN metadata tool.

CofFEE has developed boundaries for our main FERs aggregation for the 2006 Census collection. This project will add the 2011 Census collection. These boundaries are constructed for the main national FER aggregation and the concordance will be based on the 2011 boundaries. The Project provides concordant datasets across the two census (2006 and 2011). This allows researchers to conduct spatial pooled-time series analysis and comparative analysis (with growth rates).

  • Ongoing maintenance and support of CFER and concordant databases until the end of AURIN I

CofFEE will supply this maintenance and support via the help desk facility until the end of the AURIN project.

Project Team Overview

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) has been a research centre at the University of Newcastle since December 1998. Its’ membership is drawn from the disciplines of Economics, Politics, Geography, Sociology, Leisure and Tourism.

CofFEE seeks to undertake and promote research into the goals of full employment, price stability and achieving an economy that delivers equitable outcomes for all. The Centre has links to many economic research centres worldwide and regularly collaborates with researchers in these centres to produce world class economic research activity.

In the last decade the Centre’s research focus has consolidated around spatial perspectives on urban and regional change and dynamics. This research acknowledges that the processes shaping society and environment—globally, nationally, regionally, and locally—impact differentially across urban and regional space and between groups of people, creating different outcomes for people in place.

The key datasets used for this project are the 2006 and 2011 ABS Census data and are freely available without licence.

Professor Bill Mitchell
Team Leader
CofFEE Centre Director
0419 422 410

Project Partners

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Further Reading

  • Mitchell, WF & Carlson, E 2005 ‘Exploring employment growth disparities across metropolitan and regional Australia’, Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 25‐40.
  • Bill, A, Mitchell, WF & Watts, MJ 2006 ‘Examining commuting patterns, employment growth and unemployment in Sydney’, Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 233‐245.
  • Mitchell, WF & Bill, A 2006 ‘Who benefits from Growth? Disadvantaged workers in growing regions’, Australian Journal of Labour Economics, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 239‐255.
  • Bill, A, Mitchell, WF & Welters, R 2008, ‘Job mobility and segmentation in Australian city labour markets’, International Journal of Environment, Workplace and Employment, vol. 3, no. 3-4, pp. 212-229.
  • Bill, A, Mitchell, WF & Watts, MJ 2008, ‘The occupational dimensions of local labour markets in Australian cities’, Built Environment, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 291-306.
  • Baum, S, Bill, A & Mitchell, WF 2008, ‘Employment outcomes in non metropolitan labour markets: individual and regional labour market factors’ Australasian Journal of Regional Science, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 5-26.
  • Baum, S, Bill, A & Mitchell, WF 2008, ‘Unemployment in non-metropolitan Australia: integrating geography, social and individual contexts’, Australian Geographer, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 193-210.
  • Baum, S, Mitchell, WF & Han, JH 2008, ‘Socio‐economic performance across Australia’s functional economic regions’, Australasian Journal of Regional Science, vol. 14. no. 3, pp. 215‐249.
  • Mitchell, WF & Watts, MJ 2010 ‘Identifying functional regions in Australia using hierarchical aggregate techniques’, Geographical Research, vol. 48, no.1, pp24‐41.
  • Mitchell, WF 2011, ‘Exploring regional disparities in employment growth’, in Drivers of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Regional Dynamics, eds K Kourtit, P Nijkamp & R Stough, Springer-Verlag, pp. 337-359.
  • Stimson, R, Mitchell, WF, Rohde, D and Shyy, P 2011 ‘Using functional economic regions to model endogenous regional performance in Australia: implications for addressing the spatial autocorrelation problem’, Regional Science Policy and Practice, vol. 3, no. 3, pp.131‐144.