What Australian Government data can be shared?
All organisations can make a request to access Australian Government data through Dataplace from October 2022.
Free, open datasets are available at data.gov.au. Open data includes the datasets published by Australian, state and local government agencies, as well as publicly-funded research data and datasets from private institutions that are in the public interest.
What data can be shared under the DATA Scheme?
Australian Government data encompasses all data lawfully collected, created or held by a Commonwealth body, or on its behalf. Data can include a wide range of topics, from data dealing with the weather, personal and business data, through to freight and traffic movements, and agricultural yields.
For national security and other reasons, some Australian Government entities are excluded from the Scheme and some types of data cannot be shared. Excluded entities include intelligence and law enforcement entities such as the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation. Some data held by Home Affairs and AUSTRAC cannot be shared.
Data sharing purposes
Under the DATA Scheme, Australian Government data can only be shared if it is for one of the three permitted purposes:
- government service delivery
- informing government policies and programs, and
- research and development.
Government service delivery includes the provision of information (such as advice that the individual is eligible to receive a benefit), the provision of a service (such as assistance to a person to help restore their property after a flood), determining an eligibility for payment, or paying a payment.
Data cannot be shared for national security or enforcement related purposes.
Data sharing principles
The data sharing principles are the risk management framework that sits at the core of the DATA Scheme to support data custodians to decide if it is safe to share data.
The principles are:
- The project principle is that the project is an appropriate project or program of work. This goes to why the data is being used.
- The people principle is that data is made available only to appropriate persons. This goes to who is using the data.
- The setting principle is that data is shared, collected and used in an appropriately controlled environment. This goes to where the data is being used.
- The data principle is that appropriate protections are applied to the data. This goes to what data is being shared.
- The output principle is that the only output of the project is the final output and output the creation of which is reasonably necessary or incidental to creation of the final output. This goes to how the results of the project are used.
The data sharing principles are based on the Five Safes, an international standard for managing disclosure risks. The principles must be applied in such a way that, when viewed as a whole the risks of the sharing, collection and use of data are appropriately mitigated.
Further guidance about the application of the data sharing principles will be provided in a code of practice. The Code will be a legislative instrument.