Enabling data sharing within government
Why does Government need to share data?
The Victorian Government collects a lot of data when serving the needs of Victorians. This ranges from data about education and health, to data about business, communities, infrastructure and the environment.
For too long government data has been held in agency silos and not available across government to tackle many pressing community concerns. There is an opportunity to more widely share and use this data to improve policy making and services for Victorians.
This view is supported by the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Data Availability and Use, which found Australia is losing out on the potential opportunities of using data better.
How does the Victorian Data Sharing Act enable data sharing?
The Victorian Data Sharing Act 2017 has been developed to enable data sharing across government and address key priorities in the community. The Act provides a clear legal framework for sharing and using data across government to improve policy making, service planning and design, while providing strong safeguards and oversight.
What guidance is available for Victorian Government departments and agencies?
The VCDI has developed guidance materials for Victorian Government departments and agencies on the Act.
De-identification Guideline for CDO and data analytics bodies
The Chief Data Officer has issued a De-identification Guideline under section 33 of the Victorian Data Sharing Act 2017. This guideline sets out the de-identification techniques, as well as the technical and administrative controls, and other considerations the CDO and data analytics bodies must have regard to under section 18.
What is the relationship between the Act and the Victorian Centre for Data Insights?
The Act sets up the Chief Data Officer as the head of the Victorian Centre for Data Insights (VCDI). The Act will make it easier for the VCDI to conduct data analytics projects in response to government initiatives, particularly those with a whole-of-government strategic focus, and where cross-government data sharing is required and expected by the community.
How will the Act improve the lives of Victorians?
Enabling data to be shared and used across government will provide insights about what works and why, and ensure informed policy decisions that deliver for all Victorians – from tackling family violence to improving employment opportunities.
What protections and safeguards are provided by the Act?
The Act includes a broad range of protections and safeguards, including:
- providing that all data handled under the Act must be for the approved purpose of informing policy making, service planning and design
- requiring that, prior to using data for analytics, reasonable steps are taken to ensure no individual can reasonably be identified from the data
- annual reporting on the VCDI’s operations and functions, and potential breaches of privacy law, to Victorian privacy regulators
- providing that existing obligations under privacy legislation continue to apply
- creating new offences for unauthorised access, use or disclosure of data
Who has been consulted in developing the Act?
The Act has been informed by Victorian Government departments and agencies, privacy regulators, and the Victorian community.
Enabling data sharing with the community
The Victorian Government encourages and supports public access to data. This not only promotes innovation, supports research and education, but also drives productivity and growth in the Victorian economy.
The DataVic Access Policy provides direction on the release, licensing and management of Victorian Government data so that it can be used by the community and business. VCDI is responsible for the DataVic Access Policy.
You can find data that the Victorian Government has made available to the public at Victoria’s open data directory.