Second Meeting of the National Data Advisory Council

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The National Data Advisory Council held its second meeting in Melbourne on 26 July 2019.

The Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, announced the appointment of Professor Sallie Pearson to the Council. He outlined the critical role he sees public sector data playing, particularly to improve citizens’ experience when dealing with and accessing government services.

The Interim National Data Commissioner, Ms Deborah Anton, updated the Council on the consultation and engagement undertaken since the last meeting and outlined the plan for further engagement on the data sharing and release framework.  This is expected to include two further rounds of consultation, first supported by a Discussion Paper and the second, on release of exposure draft legislation.

The draft Discussion Paper was the focus of the afternoon’s deliberations. Discussion largely focussed on the Council providing views on questions raised by the paper, including: consent, commercial use of data and how best to communicate data issues. In particular, the Council advised on the importance of clearly distinguishing between the open release of data and controlled sharing of data, and the legislative and institutional arrangements for each.

The Council discussed work which the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) had undertaken to better understand community attitudes towards government use of data. The Council noted public views have the potential to change quickly and depend on the timing and nature of the messages.

The Council discussed the importance of developing a public narrative on the legislation. They advised the ONDC to continue engaging with the community, talking clearly about the benefits of data sharing and using authentic stories which will resonate with citizens. They also emphasised the importance of acknowledging the risks and how they can be effectively managed.  The Council considered the approach of the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) to building and generating trust in the public sector data system.   A key element of building trust will require maturing data management capabilities in the Australian Public Service. 

The Council commended the ONDC on the work undertaken since the last Advisory Council meeting, and highlighted there is still a lot of work remaining ahead of finalising the new data sharing and release legislation.

Members agreed that the National Data Advisory Council would meet again before the end of 2019.

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