The Australian Data Strategy – Government’s whole-of-economy vision for data

The Australian Data Strategy vision recognises Data as a National Asset, which is cause for celebration. Seer Data & Analytic’s Kristi Mansfield reflects on what this means for communities and Australian society as a whole.

Australia’s first Data Strategy was launched on 14 December, 2021 by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and is an important development towards bridging the data divide and creating thriving communities. It recognises that Data is a national asset critical for driving innovation and effective decision-making, with the potential to radically transform the world we live in.

The strategy sets the vision for Australians to have access to reliable and relevant data and to create a data-driven society by 2030. The strategy recognises Data as a key driver of the future economy and sets in place a national approach to enable its use, build trust and protect it.

Through our work with all levels of Government, Not-for-profits, and communities, Seer Data & Analytics (Seer) has advocated strongly for easier access to data and data sovereignty for all. We know from our extensive work with people on the ground in communities that better and more informed decisions can be made when the barriers to accessing data are removed.

What does the Australian Data Strategy mean for Australia?

The ultimate intended outcome of the strategy is the development a national ecosystem of data that is accessible, reliable, relevant, and easily used. From a community perspective, this means everyone, not just those with extensive resources, will be able to leverage the social and economic potential of Open Data.

The strategy estimates the value of Open Government Data alone as being up to $25 billion (around 2% of GDP) in 2014, with the potential to contribute an additional $64 billion annually (5% of GDP), and is therefore an increasingly important driver of economic growth.

Crucially, theAustralian Data Strategy sets out what the Australian Government’s data intent and efforts will include up to 2025. This effort will cover three key themes:

1. Maximising the value of data
This theme recognises the increasing economic and social value of data and that data use and re-use is an economy-wide requirement. The intention to break down unnecessary barriers to simplifying data use and sharing, as well as widely communicating benefits, is central to this theme. As well as helping Governments to deliver more effectively, this will help communities address the issues that matter most to them. When data is shared between all levels of government, businesses and communities, innovation opportunities open up and the empowerment of data-driven decision-making is transformative for communities.

2. Trust and protection
Keeping data safe, secure and not personally identifiable is important to everyone. The protection and ethical use of data is covered under this theme, which looks closely at what frameworks and settings are available to protect data.

3. Enabling data use 
This theme looks closely at approaches and requirements for getting the most value from data, including the necessary capabilities, relevant legislation, effective management and integration of data, and the importance of engaging internationally.

The Strategy is accompanied by an Action plan to ensure that data is being made available, that guardrails are being set for a modern economy and that a modern data system is being built. For our customers, the successful implementation of the strategy should see you more easily accessing data to inform decision-making about the delivery and improvement of services on the ground.

Maranguka – a lighthouse example of the power of data sharing

A case study highlighting the data sharing and collaboration work being done in Bourke by Maranguka Community Hub as an enabler to ‘break the circuit’ has been included in the Australian Data strategy.

This grassroots data collaboration is fuelling the systems-change vision for Bourke, facilitated via the Palimaa Data Platform, powered by Seer Data & Analytics.

Maranguka is a model of Indigenous self-governance guided by the Bourke Tribal Council. The Maranguka Initiative is the largest data-driven, community-led project in Australia and in partnership with Just Reinvest NSW, has developed a justice reinvestment program that has reduced crime, increased safety, saved millions of dollars, and fuelled new economic investment for Bourke.  

Seer, along with the communities we support, welcome the Australian Government’s commitment to building opportunities and partnerships through data sharing. The Australian Data Strategy will help facilitate the democratisation of data and provide greater equity of access to public data assets, for the benefit of all Australians.

Kristi Mansfield
CEO & Co-founder
Seer Data & Analytics