Government consults on new data-sharing framework

Prepares to develop Data Sharing and Release Act

The federal government has released an issues paper as the first step towards developing a new framework for sharing and managing public sector data.

The aim of the mooted ‘Data Sharing and Release Act’ (DS&R) is to “streamline the process for sharing public sector data and improve data safeguards across the public sector,” the paper states.

The new data framework will apply to all Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies and “encompass all data collected by these government bodies for any purposes, including government administration, service delivery and research”.

“Data collected from individuals, businesses and other entities, and data generated internally by Australian Government bodies is in scope,” the paper states.

“The reforms will first and foremost look to strengthen the existing safeguards around the management of sensitive and private citizen data,” said a statement issued by Michael Keenan, the human services minister and assistant minister for digital transformation.

“But they will also seek to replace the complex web of rules and regulations which currently restrict the release of non-sensitive data, stifling innovation and preventing productivity gains across all sectors of the economy.”

The government in May revealed it would spend $65 million on a four-year open data push, which in addition to the development of a new framework for government data will see the establishment of a National Data Commissioner position and the legislating of a new Consumer Data Right.

The National Data Commissioner will be established by the DS&R legislation. The government has launched an expressions of interest process for members of the National Data Advisory Council, which will advise the commissioner.