Public sector data is a vital national resource that underpins and informs decisions which can transform and shape Australia’s future. By enabling greater sharing and reuse of data, the Australian Government will be able to deliver better services for citizens and develop more informed and targeted policies. 

On 8 May 2017, the Productivity Commission made a series of recommendations to unlock the value of data, including how public sector data is shared. The Government’s response to committed to reforming the national data system to improve availability and use of public sector data.

The reforms are underpinned by three key features:

  • new legislation to improve use and reuse of public sector data and to strengthen data safeguards, while modernising Australia’s regulatory framework
  • an independent National Data Commissioner mandated to drive change and support best practice data management and use across the Australian Public Service, including through the implementation and regulation of the new legislation
  • a new National Data Advisory Council advising the National Data Commissioner on ethical data use, community engagement and technical best practice, as well as industry and international developments.

In August 2018, the Australian Government appointed Ms Deborah Anton as interim National Data Commissioner. The interim Commissioner and the ONDC are designing a streamlined legislative approach that empowers Commonwealth agencies to share data responsibly. 

The National Data Commissioner is responsible for implementing a simpler and safer way to share and release public sector data to drive greater social and economic benefits for the community.

Data Sharing Reforms

The Australian Government is reforming data governance so we can realise the economic and social benefits of increased data use, while building trust and confidence in the system.

An Issues Paper was released on 4 July 2018 on new Data Sharing and Release Legislation seeking public comment. To read the submissions to the Issues Paper, please visit the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

A Discussion Paper was released for public comment on 3 September 2019 which outlined the evolution of our policy positions since the Issues Paper. Read the Discussion Paper and submissions.

We have been working closely with stakeholders to develop the legislation. Over the last year we have:

  • hosted 11 policy co-design workshops with 36 Commonwealth agencies
  • hosted more than 70 half-day roundtables  with over 250 peak bodies, businesses, and research institutions across Australia
  • held ongoing bilateral meetings with experts and interested stakeholders
  • presented at numerous conferences, forums and workshops on the new legislation.