Govts band together to create national disability dataset

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Govts band together to create national disability dataset

Pilot to cost $15 million.

Federal, state and territory IT ministers have agreed to pull together a national dataset on disabled Australians to start delivering better services.

The decision, taken at the first sitting of the newly re-badged Australian Data and Digital Council on Friday, paves the way for a federation-wide view of the disability sector.

Described as an “enduring longitudinal National Disability Data Asset”, the dataset is intended to “better understand how people with disability are supported through services, payments and programs” across the country.

It will initially begin life as a $15 million pilot funded by the federal government that will incorporate datasets from the federal, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australian governments.

While no date is currently slated for the asset, ministers have asked the council’s senior officials group to “prioritise the development of business case and sustainable funding model”.

This business case will then be used by the remaining jurisdictions – Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the ACT – to inform their decision to opt into the asset.

“The interim findings of the pilot phase will be brought back to this Council by mid-2020,” the council's communique [pdf] states.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said the asset was a “clear example of the benefits of using data to provide better outcomes for those Australians that need it most”.

“The National Disability Data Asset will give government the insights it needs to better understand and address the challenges facing Australians with disability irrespective of their location,” he said.

The announcement comes just days after offering more details on the government’s proposed data sharing reforms.

Life events and Interoperable digital driver’s licences

Ministers also used the council meeting to agree on a new national approach to government service delivery that focuses on life events such as having a baby or looking for work.

With a number of state governments now looking at designing services around life events, a series of principles have been developed to “guide national life event-based initiatives”.

“The principles include the need to reduce duplication, ensuring the efficient use of collective resources and maximising the benefits of cross-jurisdictional learning, sharing and integration,” the communique states.

The Digital Transformation Agency is already working with the NSW and ACT governments on pilot projects for ‘end of life’, ‘retirement’ and ‘birth of a child’ life events, which will now be further developed.

“The Birth of a Child pilot led by the ACT will deliver a seamless experience for parents to engage with government services about their new baby and establish a trusted and verified identity for the child,” the communique states.

“Noting the benefits of this initiative, the Council today agreed to work on a national basis to design, test and implement this work.

“NSW, QLD and the Commonwealth agreed to work together to investigate digital birth certificates, to enhance the Birth of a Child life event project.”

Ministers have also asked the senior officials group to undertake a “strategic stocktake” of opportunities to integrate government services delivery activities and report at the next meeting.

One area already identified as in need of improved interoperability is digital driver’s licences, which have launched in South Australia and are nearing launch in NSW.

“Jurisdictions agreed to work together to consider digital interoperability of digital drivers licences and whether a consistent approach can be developed,” the communique states.

“Ministers asked the Senior Officials Group to investigate opportunities for reform and report back to the next Council meeting.”

Queensland to appoint first digital chief

Queensland’s IT minister Mick de Brenni used the meeting to announce plans to appoint the state’s first chief customer and digital officer.

The CCDO would be tasked with overseeing the development of customer-focused government services to help position Queensland as a leader in digital transformation.

“The Palaszcuk Government is placing its customers – the people of Queensland – at the heart of everything we do,” Brenni said.

“This new role of Chief Customer and Digital Officer will ensure we will provide assurance at every level of the government’s digital systems, reduce duplication and that we invest in digital projects that meet the needs of Queenslanders.”

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