Govts set first national data sharing priorities

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Govts set first national data sharing priorities

Agree to create an 'Australian Data Network'.

Australian governments will prioritise sharing data related to natural disasters and emergencies, waste and road safety under the first national data sharing work program.

Digital ministers from the Commonwealth, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and ACT governments agreed to the first work program and initial priority areas last Friday.

It comes a month after national cabinet signed off on an intergovernmental agreement, which commits all states and territories to share data between jurisdictions by default.

The default position will see governments “use best endeavours to share data between jurisdictions” for recognised purposes, granted privacy standards are met.

Data can be shared for the purposes of informing policy; designing, delivering and evaluating programs; tracking implementation; or improving service delivery.

The three initial priority data sharing areas agreed to under the work program on Friday are natural hazards and emergency management, waste management and road safety.

The ministers also agreed that future priority data sharing areas could include family, domestic and sexual violence; closing the gap; and veteran’s health.

“Agreement to the work program will ensure action is taken to address national priority data sharing areas and reform the Commonwealth and state and territory data sharing system,” the ministers said.

The communique [pdf] also reveals the creation of an Australian Data Network as one of four “cross-cutting” reforms, though does not elaborate on what this initiative might entail.

Other reforms are standard operating procedures for sharing, improving data discovery through machine readable metadata and a “share-once use-often model for aggregate de-identified administrate data”.

The ministers also discussed opportunities presented by digital birth certificates and plan to explore future interoperability possibilities.

NSW is leading the development of Australia’s digital birth certificate on behalf of other states and territories following the success of its digital driver’s licence program.

NSW digital and customer service minister Victor Dominello last month offered a sneak peek at what the future digital birth certificate might look like.

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