Open Data Report from Australia – New Policies and Statements from PM Turnbull

In September 2015, The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull was elected Prime Minister of Australia.  In the following months, several important open data initiatives have been initiated from the Public Data Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. As well, new programs are being designed based as evidence from the results of Australia’s Open Data 500 Study, a joint project of The GovLab and The Government of Australia.  

Below, we share a reporting and exciting update for open data enthusiasts of key activities, thanks to Naomi Perdomo, Advisor with Public Data Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the Government of Australia.

Australian Government Announces a Public Data Policy Statement

  • On Monday, December 7, 2015, the Australian Government released a Public Data Policy Statement. The Policy Statement commits the Government to specific actions designed to optimize the use and reuse of public data; to release non-sensitive data as open by default; and to collaborate with the private and research sectors to extend the value of public data for the benefit of the Australian public.
  • In addition to the statement, the Australian Government has announced that it will be making openly available and free-of-charge one of the most requested high-value datasets – the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF). Making the G-NAF available under open data terms will remove barriers that restrict the data’s use and promote innovation.

Public Sector Data Management Report

  • In August, the Government of Australia released preliminary results from the OD500 Australia Study which were used as evidence to influence the recommendations in a report and are considered the starting point for its consultation with the community about open data.
  • The Government is planning to hold roundtable discussions with five key sectors (spatial and land, socio-economic, health, transport and environment (incl. energy) in the first half of next year.

DataStart – A new government program to encourage startups to use open data

  • One of the findings from the OD500AU was that the majority of respondents were established organizations (only 26% were founded in the last 5 years). As a result of this finding, the Government has initiated a program specifically designed to engage entrepreneurs, small businesses and the startup community. Called DataStart, this public-private partnership is enabling new commercial opportunities for Australian startups by leveraging open data with training and access to tools, resources and networks for growing their business. 
  • The Government recently held a series of information nights around the country to promote the initiative. The roadshow was not only a great way to promote the initiative but hugely beneficial for in terms of meeting with stakeholders and uncovering issues and barriers to using the data by small businesses and startups.

Australia joins the Open Government Partnership

  • On November 17, 2015, the Australian government announced its  commitment to joining OGP and began public consultation on the Government’s National Action Plan.

More information is available about Australia’s Open Data 500 Study and early reporting of the study’s results. You can read about more about the Open Data Global Network here

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