What is the Government doing in data?

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The Government is seeking to help Australians unlock the value of data by improving the way data is shared and released, and by ensuring our regulatory framework does not create unnecessary barriers to data use.

Below is a summary of major government work on data; for a list of all government initiatives, refer to Australia’s Tech Future website.

Building trust in the use of data

To build confidence in how government and business use data, the Australian Government is:

  • implementing a Consumer Data Right to give customers greater control over their data and transaction activities, initially starting with the banking, energy and telecommunications industries. As part of the Consumer Data Right, the Government will ensure all major banks make data available on credit and debit card, and deposit and transaction accounts by 1 July 2019, and on mortgages by 1 February 2020. All other banks will be requires to implement these measures within the following 12 months
  • developing an ethics framework in partnership with industry and research organisations around the use of data, with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • delivering legislative reforms to help streamline the sharing and release of public sector data, while protecting Australians’ privacy and confidentiality
  • undertaking inclusive consultation around the new data sharing and release framework
  • supporting the work of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner which provides advice to the public, government agencies and business with regard to the Privacy Act 1988 and freedom of information matters
  • shaping international rules that facilitate the free flow of information and data across borders while allowing governments to respond to legitimate public policy concerns, including consumer and privacy protection (read more in the Digital Trade Chapter of Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy)
  • developing and championing global governance standards relating to misuse of data by social media companies and the management of harmful online content.

Increasing data accessibility

The Government is increasing data availability, and supporting use of high-quality, well-managed data by:

  • working with industry to identify valuable public datasets and increasing the number of datasets on data.gov.au
  • providing open access to spatial data through the Geocoded National Address File
  • providing $36.9 million to give governments, businesses, researchers and individuals access to reliable standardised satellite imagery data through Digital Earth Australia
  • implement a framework to guide how to use data from the My Health Record system
  • appointing a National Data Commissioner with a mandate to promote greater use of data, and build national frameworks and guidelines that build trust in the way government uses data
  • establishing Accredited Data Authorities to support efficient and safe sharing and release of data
  • establishing a National Data Advisory Council to advise the National Data Commissioner on ethical data use, community expectations, technical best practice, and industry and international developments.

Building data science capability

The Government is building Australia’s national capability in data analytics through the cutting edge work of Data61. Established in 2016, this leading data innovation group within CSIRO has helped connect and concentrate Australia’s data-driven research and technology capability.

The Government has added extra funding to the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program to support projects that use artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to solve problems identified by industry.


A recent example of Data61’s work is the Platforms for Open Data initiative. The initiative improves access to public data and high-value datasets. In this initiative, Data61 partners with Commonwealth agencies to work on research projects that improve privacy protections, perform advanced analytics, and to improve access to public data.