The Commonwealth has outlined a three-point strategy aimed at supporting the effective, safe, ethical and secure use of data across both the private and public sectors.
The inaugural Australian Data Strategy has been released to the public, designed to support the Commonwealth government’s push to foster a “modern data-driven society” by 2030.
The strategy was developed in response to the initial COVID-19 outbreak, during which the government leveraged private and public data to respond to the health and economic effects of the pandemic.
It seeks to ensure the effective, safe, ethical and secure use of data as a foundational tool for businesses, individuals, the non-government and government sectors.
The Australian Data strategy focuses on three key themes:
- Maximising the value of data – describes why data is important, its economic and social value, its use in responding to priority issues and the benefit that can be gained through using and safely sharing data.
- Trust and protection – describe the settings that can be adopted in the private and public sectors to keep data safe and secure, and the frameworks available to protect Australians’ data and ensure its ethical use through the entire data life cycle.
- Enabling data use – sets out approaches and requirements to leverage the value of data, such as capabilities, legislation, management and integration of data, and engaging internationally.
This is supported by a “living Action Plan” which sets out tangible measures the government is implementing to improve data settings across the economy.
The Action Plan is to be regularly reviewed to ensure it meets changing priorities.
According to the government, both the Australian Data Strategy and Action Plan align with a range of existing legislation, strategies, policies and reviews which regulate data, including:
- the Privacy Act 1988 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982;
- the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 (the DAT Bill);
- the 2015 Public Data Policy Statement;
- the Digital Economy Strategy;
- the Cyber Security Strategy;
- the Productivity Commission’s 2017 Inquiry into Data Availability and Use; and
- the Consumer Data Right.
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, welcomed the new strategy, stating it would power the nation's ambitions in the data space.
“Through the strategy and accompanying Action Plan, we outline how we will create, use and share data across all levels of government, while maintaining the right safeguards to keep this data secure," he said.
Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Digital Economy, Senator Jane Hume, added it was an important step in unlocking the value of data across the economy.
“Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy and can help Australian businesses be more innovative and effective. It helps to create new jobs, enables the use of emerging technologies, delivers improved outcomes for Australians and allows government to provide frictionless and trusted services,’ Minister Hume said.
“We want to maintain dialogue with industry about how we can create the right settings to get the most out of our data. I look forward to discussing how the Data Strategy can best reflect a common vision for Australia’s data-driven future.”
The Australian public has been invited to submit views and feedback before 30 June 2022.
The government is expected to respond to submissions by the end of 2022.