Sharing data safely

Sharing data for the right reasons can provide a richer picture of Australia's economy, society and environment, and significantly increase the value that agencies and researchers can obtain from separate or less detailed datasets.

We want to make the best possible use of public sector data. There are many benefits that may flow from this legislation, including better service delivery, transparency, research and public administration.

Data sharing under the legislation

The proposed reforms have started an important conversation about how Government uses, shares and makes data available. The new legislation focuses on tapping into the abundant opportunities available in the space between open data and closed data, where data can be shared subject to appropriate safeguards.

Data Sharing will only be allowed for legislated purposes, where a strict purpose test is met, and where the data sharing principles have been applied. 

In order to access data under the legislation, entities and individuals will require accreditation as part of a broader Accredited User Framework.

Data Sharing Principles

The Data Sharing and Release legislation will include a modernised risk management framework that safely unlocks greater benefits of public sector data. The approach we have adopted builds on the internationally recognised Five-Safes Framework. 

Find out more about how government agencies ensure appropriate safeguards around data sharing.

New data sharing framework

The Government will introduce legislation underpinning a new system for data sharing in Australia. This legislation will establish institutional and governance arrangements to facilitate better sharing of data subject to clear and consistent safeguards. 

The legislative package will set clear rules and expectations for data sharing, including making clear when data can be shared, and embedding effective risk management practices and strong safeguards for sensitive data.

A more efficient system

It's easier for people and organisations if they can provide their information to the government once, instead of giving the same information to several different agencies. This reduces duplication of data and minimises costs.

For example, myTax pre-fills tax information, provided to the tax office by employers, banks and government agencies, making it easier and quicker for users to complete their tax return. Over 3.5 million myTax lodgements were received for the in 2018 financial year, providing quick, easy, safe and secure way for users to lodge their taxes.

Greater research and innovation

Sharing data safely with researchers can help address Australia's complex social and economic policy problems.

For example, the Population Health Research Network  (PHRN) is a national collaboration that enables existing data from around Australia to be brought together and made available for important research. The PHRN has enabled data to be brought together for a range of research including:

  • Studies of rare diseases and rare outcomes
  • Studies of outcomes across the life course
  • Real world evaluation of policies, services, drugs and devices.