National Data Commissioner Update - July 2022

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National Data Commissioner Update - July 2022

Hello and welcome to the July 2022 issue of the National Data Commissioner’s update.

It's been a very exciting few months for us. The Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022 commenced in April, with Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, Minister for Finance, Minister for Women and Minister for the Public Service, responsible for administering the Act. 

The Act establishes a new, best practice scheme for sharing Australian Government data, underpinned by strong safeguards and simplified, efficient processes – picking up the acronym of the Act, we call it the DATA Scheme. For an introduction to how the Scheme works, please have a look at Introducing the DATA Scheme. In a nutshell, it’s all about increasing the availability and use of Australian Government data to deliver better government services, policies and programs with people and business at the heart, and to support world-leading research.

The good news is we are open for business. Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies can now apply to be accredited users under the DATA Scheme.

From 1 August, Australian universities will be able to apply for accreditation as data users and all scheme participants – government agencies and universities – can apply for accreditation as data service providers. We are looking forward to seeing your applications to participate in the DATA Scheme.

There’s been tremendous interest in the information and briefing sessions we are holding for Scheme participants. We’ll continue to roll these out with sessions becoming more topic specific as time goes on. You can register for these sessions here.

Dataplace is now live.  It is our digital platform for Scheme participants, and others, to manage data sharing requests and support administration of the DATA Scheme. Right now, government agencies can use Dataplace to apply for accreditation as users. More functionality will be rolling out soon, with the data request service opening on 15 August, and the ability to develop data sharing agreements on the platform coming later this year.

To support Australian Government agencies to strengthen their data maturity, we’ve begun work with 15 agencies to develop their data inventories with the aim of having 20 underway by the end of this year.

We held the first meeting of the statutory National Data Advisory Council, who provide advice on using and sharing public sector data including on ethical data use, balancing data availability with privacy protection, trust and transparency, technical best practice, as well as industry and international developments. Information about the meeting is available here.

In coming weeks we will be consulting on a number of legislative instruments.  For example, a Data Code which will provide further guidance on how to apply the data sharing principles, privacy protections (consent in particular), the public interest test and ethics, as well as data sharing agreements.  We will also be consulting on a rule to transition integrating authorities to accredited data service providers under the DATA Scheme.

I’d like to end this message with some data-about-data shared by Dr David Gruen, the Australian Statistician. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ DataLab is a tool to enable sophisticated analysis of detailed data in a secure environment. DataLab is currently growing at about 30 percent every year, from 50 users in 2016 to nearly 4000 now. It's encouraging to see the increasing use of Australian Government data and to consider how the DATA Scheme can make it easier to safely unlock more data to deliver public benefit.

As always, I welcome your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing or through our website.