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Introduction

This Policy provides greater public access to Victorian government generated or owned data through the publication of datasets on the Victorian government Data Directory website.

1.1 DataVic Access Policy

Making datasets freely available to the public is the State’s default position and where possible agencies must make datasets available with minimum restrictions, including the proactive removal of cost barriers.

1.2 DataVic Access Policy background

The DataVic Access Policy (the Policy) provides direction on licensing, pricing and management of Victorian government data so that it can be used and reused by the community and businesses.

The Victorian government holds, creates and collects a vast amount of data, ranging from demographic and economic to geospatial data. These datasets have the potential to drive innovation, reveal new research findings, create new business opportunities, and enable new services.

Around the world, governments are unlocking the value of its data by releasing it for public reuse. Governments have realised that many services can be developed externally. Rather than engaging directly in smart phone, web or other software developments, governments are releasing raw data and allowing the market to develop new and innovative products and services. In other jurisdictions, the market has delivered these products and services quickly and at no cost to government.

This Policy provides greater public access to Victorian government generated or owned data through the publication of datasets on the Victorian government Data Directory website, www.data.vic.gov.au (Data Directory).

1.3 Benefits of the Policy

Benefits of the Policy include

  • stimulating economic activity and driving innovation and new services to the community and business
  • increasing productivity and improving personal and business decision making based on improved access to data
  • improving research outcomes by enabling access to primary data to researchers in a range of disciplines
  • improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government by encouraging better management practices and use of the data

1.4 Ministerial responsibility for the Policy

The Minister for Finance is the Minister responsible for administering the Policy through the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF).

1.5 Policy intent

The intent of the Policy is to:

  • enable public access to government data to support research and education
  • promote innovation
  • support improvements in productivity and stimulate growth in the Victorian economy
  • enhance sharing of, and access to, information rich resources to support evidence based decision making in the public sector

1.6 Policy Principles

The Principles underpinning the Policy are:

Table 1: DataVic Access Policy principles
Principle Chapter
1. Government data will be made available unless access is restricted for reasons of privacy, public safety, security and law enforcement, public health, and compliance with the law.

2
3
4
5

2. Government data will be made available under flexible licences. 6
3. With limited exceptions, government data will be made available at no or minimal cost.1 9
4. Government data will be easy to find (discoverable) and accessible in formats that promote its reuse. 7
5. Government will follow standards and guidelines relating to making datasets available and agency accountability for those datasets. All

1.7 What agencies are covered by the Policy

The Policy and these supporting Guidelines apply to all agencies (that is, all departments and public bodies) of the State. 'Department' and ‘Public body’ are defined in the Financial Management Act 1994.2 Public bodies include State business corporations and statutory authorities.

Accordingly, departments and public bodies as defined under the Financial Management Act must implement the Policy and these supporting Guidelines. Each agency must determine whether it is subject to the Policy on this basis.3 Implementation of the Policy and these supporting Guidelines will necessarily vary according to a number of factors, including the size, sophistication, intellectual property, data and needs of the agency. Agencies are encouraged to consider the Guidelines and to contact DTF with any queries.

1.8 Key actions of the DataVic Policy

These Guidelines also specify a set of key actions, identified by text boxes at the start of relevant chapters, to ensure compliance with the Policy. The list of key actions are:

  1. The Government's default position is that departments and public bodies datasets must be made available to the public.
  2. Datasets must be made available unless access is restricted for reasons of privacy, public safety, security, law enforcement, public health and compliance with the law.
  3. Datasets must be released in a machine readable, reusable and open format.
  4. Personal, health and/or confidential information must be de-identified and aggregated.
  5. Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) is the default licence for datasets released under the Policy.
  6. Metadata must be created for datasets released under the Policy.
  7. All datasets made available under the Policy are to be linked to the data directory, www.data.vic.gov.au.
  8. Agencies must make a determination about how often published datasets must be updated.
  9. Agencies must consider the Policy when developing and procuring datasets and databases.
  10. Datasets will not be commercialised unless an agency has a statutory function to do so, or Ministerial approval is granted.
  11. The agency head has overall accountability for implementing the Policy within their agency.
  12. Each dataset made available must have an assigned custodian to ensure the dataset is managed through its lifecycle.
  13. The progress of agencies compliance with the Policy will be reported to the responsible Minister and to Cabinet.

The list of key actions is also reproduced at Appendix 1: Key actions.

1.9 Currency

The Policy and these supporting Guidelines replace all previous policies on making government datasets available. This is Version 2.1 of the Policy Guidelines, first published in August 2015 with amendments incorporated November 2016. Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) is responsible for the maintenance of the Guidelines, and will keep a catalogue of each version. DPC welcomes feedback on the Guidelines and will review them on a regular basis. Agencies may suggest changes or additions to the Guidelines to DPC through Contact DataVic.

Subsequent versions of the Guidelines may be published from time to time on the DataVic4 website. Agencies should ensure that they are working with the current version of the Guidelines.

1.10 Implementation support

Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) is responsible for the whole of Victorian Government implementation of the Policy.

Please submit requests for changes or additions to the Guidelines on the Contact DataVic for consideration.

DPC reviews the Guidelines annually.

Technical support for the Victorian government Data Directory

Technical queries about the linking of datasets to the Data Directory should be submitted via the Contact DataVic.

Data owners should make requests for new data records via the web services portal.

1.11 The Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Policy Intent and Principles and supporting Guidelines

The Policy and supporting Guidelines must be read in conjunction with the Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Policy (IP Policy) and supporting Guidelines6. The IP Policy sets out the State’s approach to the management of Intellectual Property (IP). Government data often attracts IP protection. Accordingly, the DataVic and IP Policy are closely related, particularly in areas such as commercialisation and licensing. Agencies should consider these guidelines and contact DTF with any queries about the intersection between the policies.

Other policies that intersect the Policy are listed in Appendix 4: Related policies and standards.


1. An agency may commercialise, or apply the Cost Recovery Guidelines to, government data if:
(a) it has an explicit statutory function to do so; or
(b) it has been explicitly authorised to do so by the Minister for Finance, because of a clear net benefit to the Victorian community.

2. www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/financial-management-act-1994/065

3. Guidance as to the applicability of the Financial Management Act can be sought by checking the Annual Financial Report for the State of Victoria. The Report usually includes a list of significant controlled entities. All of the agencies in the controlled entities list are subject to the Policy. However, this list does not include all agencies subject to the Policy, and should therefore only be used indicatively. If an agency is unsure whether it is a public body under the Financial Management Act, it should seek legal advice.

4. www.data.vic.gov.au

6. www.dtf.vic.gov.au/funds-programs-and-policies/intellectual-property-policy

Reviewed 18 May 2020

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