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2.1 - Release high-value datasets and enable data driven innovation

Objective and description:

Australia will continue to make more public data openly available and support its use to launch commercial and non-profit ventures, conduct research, make data-driven decisions, and solve complex problems.

As part of this, we will work with the research, not-for-profit and private sectors to identify the characteristics of high-value public datasets, and to promote innovative use of data to drive social and economic outcomes.

Status Quo:

Public data is a valuable national resource and its use and reuse can help grow the economy, improve service delivery and transform policy outcomes.

While significant progress has been made to advance the public data agenda within Australia, further work needs to be done to harness the full value of this resource.

The Australian Government’s Public Data Policy Statement requires Australian Government entities to make non-sensitive data open by default. While government agencies will continue to release non-sensitive data, priority should be given to releasing, curating and streamlining access to datasets which have the greatest potential to deliver social and economic outcomes for the country. Ongoing engagement with non-government stakeholders is required to identify the characteristics of high-value datasets (such as format, accessibility, metadata and attributes), and discover barriers to accessing and sharing data.

The public, research, not-for-profit and private sectors can innovate with this data in order to generate new business, develop new products and services, and create social value. It is of the utmost importance though that the release of data not compromise people’s privacy and personal details.

The Government has provided some support to date, including through the Open Data 500 Australia  and the DataStart initiative.  There is now the opportunity to build and expand on these pilot initiatives to encourage the use of public data for social and economic outcomes.

In the Government’s policy for Better and More Accessible Digital Services,  the Government committed to working with research, not-for-profit and private sectors to identify high-value public datasets for release. This will be supported by a public registry of significant non sensitive datasets yet to be published on data.gov.au. The Government is also establishing a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program to incentivise local councils to open up their data and collaborate with communities, local business, not-for-profits and research institutes to create innovative solutions to urban problems.

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report  on data availability and use that seeks to identify the characteristics (and provide examples) of public datasets that would provide high value to the public, research and private sectors, as well as the community.


To develop an open dialogue between government and non-government sectors to identify characteristics of high-value data and to stimulate greater use and re use of public data in innovative ways.


This commitment will advance the OGP values of access to information, technology and innovation and public participation by:

  • identifying and prioritising high-value datasets for priority release;

  • understanding how Australian businesses and not-for-profits are using public data;

  • stimulating use and re-use of public data in innovative ways;

  • encouraging the use of public data to create social value;

  • identifying and addressing barriers impeding the sharing of and access to data; and

  • fostering a dialogue on how public data can be made more useful.

OGP Grand Challenge:

  • More Effectively Managing Public Resources

  • Improving Public Services


December 2016 – July 2018

Lead agency:

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (data@pmc.gov.au)

Other actors involved: 

  • Government - Commonwealth Government agencies, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and state and territory and local governments

  • Non-government - Non-government organisations (including Australian Open Government Partnership Network, Open Knowledge Foundation, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Australian Privacy Foundation), research, not-for-profit and private sectors


  • Consultation to assess barriers to using data, identify the characteristics of ‘high-value’ data and help inform the development of the High-Value Dataset Framework, including:

    • Roundtable discussions with the research, private and not-for-profit sectors

      • Commenced - April 2017

    • Undertake the second round of the Open Data 500.

      • January 2017 - July 2017

    • Broader public consultation through surveys, social media and blog posts.

      • Commenced - October 2017

    • Undertake regular meetings of the Government Open Data Community Forum for public servants from federal, state and territory, and local government to share experience and discuss their ongoing open data work.

      • Ongoing

  • Identify and release high-value data:

    • Develop the High-Value Dataset Framework (informed by public consultation).

      • April 2017 - December 2017

    • Develop and release a public registry of significant non sensitive datasets yet to be published on data.gov.au

      • December 2017- July 2018

    • Release non-sensitive data by default, with a focus on releasing high-value datasets.

      • Ongoing

  • Stimulate innovative use and re-use of public data:

    • Review and publicise the outcomes from the pilot DataStart initiative.

      • Commenced - Early 2017

    • Expand the DataStart initiative.

      • July 2017 - July 2018

    • Provide support and mentoring at GovHack events.

      • Ongoing