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

Overall status:

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

By developing an open dialogue 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.

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 to create social value
  • providing access to and encouraging the use of public data
  • 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.

Current status

The activities and work to support Commitment 2.1 are being managed by the Data and Digital Branch and the newly established National Data Commissioner Branch at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Round table discussions
Between October 2016 and April 2017, Government consulted the public, including a broad cross-section of stakeholders and sectors in a series of roundtable discussions and ‘data pulse check’ surveys. Participants identified key issues surrounding access to and release of public data, including privacy concerns, standards, and cultural and bureaucratic barriers.

Feedback received through the roundtables and surveys is informing the development of the high-value dataset framework. The framework will assist data custodians to identify high-value data for release.

Data Availability and Use Inquiry
On 26 November 2017, the Government announced it would create a Consumer Data Right as one of the reforms in its upcoming response to the Productivity Commission (PC)’s Data Availability and Use Inquiry report. A cross-portfolio taskforce prepared the Government’s response to the report’s recommendations in consultation with a range of government and non-government stakeholders.

The PC report proposes reforms to strengthen Australia’s data system and give individuals more control over their digital data. Several of the recommendations relate to high value datasets, including the designation of National Interest Datasets and a public nomination process for access to high value datasets.

Response to the PC Data Availability and Use Inquiry

On 1 May 2018, the Australian Government released its response to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Data Availability and Use. The announcement commits to the establishment of a National Data Commissioner, who will implement and oversee a simpler, more efficient data sharing and release framework, and new legislative and governance arrangements, that will enable better use of data across the economy while ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place to protect sensitive information. The response included the establishment of a new Consumer Data Right that will give citizens greater transparency and control over their own data.

The Government also committed to establish a framework to identify Designated Datasets, whose availability and use will generate significant community-wide benefits. The Government will consider the best way to facilitate sharing and use of these datasets through the legislative consultation process.

These reforms will help Australian Government agencies, industries and researchers to share and gain access to public sector data, while maintaining the strict privacy, security and transparency safeguards essential to maintain trust in the system. The reforms will improve Australia’s ability to capture the social and economic benefits from existing data.

Data Sharing and Release Legislation

On 4 July 2018, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation released an issues paper on the development of the Data Sharing and Release Act for public comment. The Government also sought expressions-of-interest for membership to the National Data Advisory Council (see Commitment 2.2 below).

The creation of a new Commonwealth Data Sharing and Release Act will provide a simpler, more efficient framework to govern data across Government.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is continuing consultation on the DataSharing and Release (DS&R) legislation.

  • In July, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet released an issues paper which outlines the scope of the new legislation and the key principles proposed to underpin the new Act. 108 written submissions received in response to the Issues paper (public submissions are available here).
  • Over 80 organisations, including research institutions, businesses and peak bodies, have attended roundtables held during July-October with more planned around Australia in November.
  • We continue to work across the Australian Public Service (APS), hosting eight policy co-design workshops during August and September attended by 36 Commonwealth agencies.

This is part of ongoing consultation on the design of new legislation, with further consultation expected prior to introduction.

GovHack is a community led event that has grown since 2009 to cover 36 locations across Australia and is supported by numerous sponsors from Government and industry, in particular the Digital Transformation Agency. GovHack events continue to be supported by mentors from government agencies to assist in unlocking the value of public data in new and innovative ways.

Open Data 500
The Open Data 500 (OD500) is an online survey designed to help identify the types of government data that businesses use. The roundtable events and work undertaken by the PC response Taskforce to identify high value data across the academic, business and community sectors has comprehensively addressed this question. The PC response Taskforce has also explored attitudes across sectors on a process to identify National Interest Datasets and a subsequent process for their release. The Government considers that this has fulfilled the policy need to understand business use of government data in a broad and strategic way, and therefore fulfilled the policy intent of undertaking a second round of the Open Data 500 initiative.

Delayed Milestone

Development of a High Value Dataset Framework has been delayed as the commitment has been subsumed into the Government’s commitment to establish a National Data Commissioner and subsequently a framework to identify Designated Datasets coming out of the response to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Data Availability and Use. The Office of the National Data Commissioner is drawing on previous work from across the APS to reinvigorate efforts in developing a framework for identifying designated datasets. The framework is being conceptualised and scoped before thorough stakeholder engagement is undertaken.

Other stakeholders

Government: Australian Government agencies, state and territory and local governments.

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

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

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:

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

Dec 2016-Apr 2017 Completed

2.  Undertake the second round of the Open Data 500.

Jan-Jul 2017 Completed

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

Oct 2017 Completed

4.  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 On-track

Identify and release high-value data:

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

Apr-Dec 2017 Delayed

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

Dec 2017-Jul 2018 Not yet commenced

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

Ongoing On-track

Stimulate innovative use and re-use of public data:

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

Early 2017 Completed

2.  Expand the DataStart initiative.

Jul 2017-Jul 2018 Completed

3.  Provide support and mentoring at GovHack events.

Ongoing On-track

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Last updated: 12/02/2019

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