The federal government issued Australia’s first data strategy and associated action plan, outlining a long-term vision for the development of an effective, safe, ethical and secure national data ecosystem.
Stuart Robert, the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, and Jane Hume, the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Digital Economy, jointly announced the release of the Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Strategy.
The strategy is part of a broader promise to provide improved services and to assist Australia in becoming a “modern, data-driven society by 2030,” according to the Australian government.
The Australian Data Strategy signposts the Australian Government’s data intent and efforts over the period to 2025. It focuses on three key themes:
- maximising the value of data – describes why data is important, its economic and social value, its use in responding to priority issues, and the benefit that can be gained through using and safely sharing data. Data can create new value when shared between different levels of government, and the private and non-government sectors.
- trust and protection – describes the settings that can be adopted in the private and public sectors to keep data safe and secure, and the frameworks available to protect Australians’ data and ensure its ethical use through the entire data lifecycle.
- enabling data use – sets out approaches and requirements to leverage the value of data, such as capabilities, legislation, management and integration of data, and engaging internationally.
The document considers both public sector data, which is managed by the government, and data in the broader economy, where the Australian Government both enables data users and regulates its use and sharing to provide greater certainty in how people deal with their data.
The Australian Data Strategy is supported by a living Action Plan which sets out tangible measures the Government is implementing to improve our data settings across the economy. The Action Plan will be regularly reviewed to ensure it evolves to meet the changing priorities of Australians, and continuously raises the bar to meet our goal of being a leading digital economy and society by 2030.
While the Data Strategy and Action Plan do not introduce new regulations or legislation, they align with a range of existing legislation, strategies, policies, and reviews which regulate data. These include the Privacy Act 1988 (and its review, currently underway) and the Freedom of Information Act 1982; the Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020 (the DAT Bill); the 2015 Public Data Policy Statement; the Digital Economy Strategy; the Cyber Security Strategy; the Productivity Commission’s 2017 Inquiry into Data Availability and Use; the Consumer Data Right; and many others.
The Data Strategy brings together these diverse elements for the first time, setting out current and forward data settings. It signals the Australian Government’s intent to use data to bring tangible benefits to the Australian people and enable data as the lifeblood of our digital economy, including through the Government engaging with the private sector to secure economic and social data for limited approved uses.
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