Qld unveils first open data plan

James Riley
Editorial Director

The federal government along with a number of state governments already have an open data policy in place. Now, it’s Queensland’s turn.

The Queensland government has released its first open data policy statement that outlines how agencies will make non-sensitive data open by default, accessible and usable, and timely and comprehensive.

There are plans to establish consistent metadata standards across government; anonymise sensitive data to enable data release; and develop coordinated plans to implement the policy statement with existing government processes.

Maree Adshead: The policy is going to have ‘incredibly positive impact’ on government services and the economy

The Queensland policy International Open Data Charter principles, and was developed in consultation with businesses, academia, and industry associations. It builds on an open data portal the Queensland government created in 2012 that is currently home to over 2,350 datasets.

“I think it’s going to have incredibly positive impact from an open data point of view on Queensland government,” Maree Adshead, Open Data Institute (ODI) Queensland founding CEO told InnovationAus.com.

“This has been the leadership statement that the public data custodians have really needed. It’s a positive sign to see elements of the international charter being endorsed,” she said.

“It’s the first time a policy consultation where that kind of approach has been that we’re aware of, and that’s been really exciting because now the policy documents seeks to address the challenges, concerns and requirements for the data consumer community as well.

“It has been drafted with the user in mind thanks to that extensive consultation, so that should mean the impact for business is going to be significant.”

The statement affirms the state government’s belief that an open data policy statement would stimulate economic activity, improve public services, and increase transparency and accountability, according to Ms Adshead.

“It introduces ways to enhance delivery to the public that will be reusing and repurposing data across departments,” she said.

“For the user community, there’s ways to gain new insights to inform better decision making, be it having access to census data and being able to combine that with other things…like traffic flow, crime rate and being able to make much more informed decisions about planning, where they might locate, or what their market looks like.

“From an inside government point of view, it’s about streamlining and creating more efficiency by repurposing and using data across different departments.”

In a move to ensure the data that will be made available is clean and in a usable state, which Ms Adshead ays remains a challenge, the ODI Queensland is working with the Queensland government to develop tools to help that.

“During the open data consultation we found everybody had issues with lack of consistency and standards, lack of consistency in description, and metadata that no one was really quite clear on, how much or little, how to describe your data.

“We’re working with ODI in London and other organisations to create in Queensland something that is going to be so much easier.”

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