GovHack responds to Commonwealth’s Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020

GovHack responds to Commonwealth’s Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

April 14 2021

GovHack welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee inquiry into the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 (Cth) (DAT Bill) and the Data Availability and Transparency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 (Cth) in March 2021. 

The Bills seek to improve how Australia shares public sector data to deliver better services, evidence-based policy and world-class research. They build on the Australian Government’s commitment to reform public sector data usage to realise the benefits of greater data availability and use, as identified by the 2018 Productivity Commission inquiry. 

GovHack recognises that data plays an important role in a modern, efficient public service. Last year, events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bushfires that blazed across Australia, exemplified how crucial data sharing is to enable a coordinated response to crises. We also recognise the considerable economic, social and environmental opportunities associated with sharing data – particularly with the community and private sector. 

We strongly support efforts to strengthen data sharing arrangements whilst maintaining trust with the Australian public. We welcome that data sharing arrangements will be published and that the Bills are underpinned by strong principles that include safeguards, privacy and security protections, where appropriate.

We continue to strongly support the Australian Government’s commitment under the 2015 Public Data Policy Statement to release non-sensitive data as open by default, and encourage that such open data adhere to the FAIR principles*. 

In relation to open data/open access, we believe that data release through the Government’s open data portal is the best way to facilitate data sharing of data custodians with the public.

GovHack recommended that the National Data Commissioner work to increase awareness and promote education on public sector data collection and usage, and try to release the associated registers as open data.

We recognise the importance that the National Data Advisory Council represents a broad cross-section of perspectives. We recommended the Council continues this to maintain representation from academia and civil society groups.  

At GovHack, we have been championing the use of the use of open data to fuel innovation and contributed great outcomes to our community. We believe the government is taking the right steps to facilitate data sharing.

See GovHack’s submission (opens as a PDF) for a full list of key observations and recommendations. 

For more information or to arrange an interview please email either:

  • Emily at media@govhack.org
  • board@govhack.org

* findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable – https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/