The Data Availability and Transparency Act (DATA) scheme will modernise and streamline data sharing arrangements to:
- improve government service delivery.
- inform and evaluate government policy development.
- support research and development.
Every day millions of Australians rely on services delivered by the Australian Government.
These services are underpinned by the government’s ability to use government data.
Now, more than ever, Australians expect government services to be simple, seamless, and secure.
That is why the DAT Bill is important. The reforms will help modernise how government shares and uses data.
Data could be used to pre-fill forms, reduce waiting times by ensuring that people are directed to the right access point, and improve services so that the public is receiving the best outcomes, support and information.
Case study – government service delivery
Government services can be made simpler; often people need to provide the same information multiple times to different departments and agencies to access similar services.
Right now to apply for the Disability Support Pension through Services Australia and for support services through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), they must supply almost the same information, including medical evidence, to both Services Australia and the NDIA separately.
The new legislation would enable ‘tell us once’ type service improvements - so rather than having to give multiple areas of government the same, you could just tell us once.
Public policy delivers solutions to challenges facing our society and it’s important that these problems are solved using the best available data.
Government data can inform policy and programs in many areas such as regional development, drought relief, and the location of important services like schools, transport links and healthcare facilities.
Better data sharing will help the Australian and state and territory governments deliver more improved policies and programs that achieve results.
Case study – informing government policy and programs
The National Drought Map is an example of good sharing of government data from across many areas of government.
The map pulls numerous pieces of government held information from across different agencies and visually displays information relevant to a particular area. It includes rainfall patterns, soil moisture, agricultural types and employment by industries, but also useful information for users on drought conditions and support measures available in the area.
This information helps farmers, their families and their communities find out what government services and supports are available to help them manage during times of drought and prepare for the future.
The new legislation could help agencies bring together the information you need in more accessible ways, like the National Drought Map.
Government data can be used to help researchers find the solutions to Australia’s current and future problems. Government data can help researchers improve health outcomes, create frost tolerant crops or improve traffic flow in cities.
The private sector is responsible for driving some of the greatest innovations and lifesaving medical breakthroughs of our time. Sharing data with organisations in the research and innovation space will support new ideas and help create a better society for everyone.
This would only be allowed if it is safe and secure, and where there is benefit to the Australian public.
Case study – research and development
Researcher Professor Fiona Stanley and colleagues used government health data to discover taking folate during pregnancy can significantly reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects, which lead to birth defects, including spina bifida.
Her research was key to the Department of Health requiring folic acid and iodine to be added to bread.
Improved access to government data for the private sector will support new ideas, stimulate economic growth and help create a better society for everyone.
The DAT Bill is currently before the Australian Parliament.
A copy of the DAT Bill is available on the Australian Parliament House website.
You will also find copies of:
- the DAT Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum
- the Minister for Government Services’ Second Reading Speech.