By 2030, the Australian Government will use data and digital technologies to deliver connected, accessible services which are centred around the needs of people and business.
Consultations on the initial Strategy demonstrated clear expectation for Government to coordinate improvement to digital inclusion, accessibility and engagement with those impacted by the digital divide. Stakeholders called for existing frameworks and standards to better integrate ‘digital by design’ principles and for the Government to drive co-design with the wider community.
The Government will continue to support connectivity, digital literacy and service design, and data sharing to address the digital divide, especially for those living in regional and remote communities, and further progress on the Government’s Closing the Gap commitments.
The Government will invest in and integrate the data it holds to improve decision making, service delivery and performance assessment in a manner inclusive of all Australians. It will collaborate with state and territory governments to break down the legislative, cultural and technical barriers to cross-jurisdictional data sharing. It will partner domestically and globally to strengthen and promote standards for better problem solving and outcomes.
By making data more accessible to people, businesses and academia, the Government will enable greater innovation and effective work throughout Australia.
The public expects the Government to be proactive and co-design data and digital solutions that meet peoples’ and businesses’ needs. The purpose of co-design is to discover perspectives through collaboration and to include user opinions in key decisions. By understanding the needs of people and business impacted by change, the Government will ensure digital services are designed to meet their needs and support them to achieve their goals.
Significant progress has already been made through the Digital Service Standard to support a collaborative, human-centred design methodology. A recent review of and update to the Digital Service Standard underpins design that leaves nobody behind.
The Government will embed co-design in its data collection, use and governance activities. Delivering a Framework for the Governance of Indigenous Data will help formalise arrangements for providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people greater agency over how their data is governed within the APS, so government-held data better reflects their priorities and aspirations. This and future work will support efforts to close the gap, consistent with Priority Reforms 3 and 4 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
The Australian Government commits to:
- partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all stages of the data lifecycle to reflect their priorities data about their communities
- building towards organisational and cultural change in the APS to support inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in data governance
- embedding co-design in the Government’s data collection, use and governance activities.
Embed inclusion and accessibility
As noted in Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031, there are considerable benefits to a more inclusive Australia where everyone has the same opportunity to participate – both socially and economically. Some individuals and community groups still have very limited or no access to the internet or are excluded because of a lack of availability, affordability, poor design or digital ability. It is crucial the Government delivers services in a way that recognises these accessibility issues and still meets the needs of their diverse users.
Through consultations, community and advocacy groups, and those who they represent, expressed that they want the Government to deliver safe, inclusive and accessible services which are intuitive and easy to use. The Government will ensure everyone, whether they are living with disability, live in remote and regional communities, are culturally or linguistically diverse, have limited digital ability, or otherwise, can access and engage with the government services and programs they need.
To ensure all people can access and benefit from its services, the Australian Government commits to:
- providing omni-channel service delivery to ensure digitally delivered services are accessible over the phone or face to face
- ensuring all websites and services meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- implementing the Digital Service Standard to embed best-practice service design and accessibility across the APS
- embracing new technologies and leveraging data and insights to increase empathetic service design (e.g., natural language processing to enhance services for non-English speakers).
Partnerships help build collective expertise, develop new ways of using data and digital technologies and find solutions to problems facing society. The Government is committed to building greater partnerships between the Government, private, research and community sectors.
Engagements with community and advocacy groups, academia and industry highlighted the importance of strong partnerships to drive positive change and co-design solutions that meet the needs of all people and business.
The Government will develop, strengthen and align the frameworks and tools needed to improve partnerships and promote collaborative problem solving.
The Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting (DDMM) is a cross-jurisdictional group working to drive cooperation on data and digital policies and services across Australia, to ensure smarter service delivery and improved outcomes. The Government will continue its strong engagement with states and territories through the DDMM on national issues like data sharing, delivering a seamless digital ID experience, improving digital inclusion, and emerging technologies.
Several initiatives are already helping, or will help, the Government to improve data sharing partnerships, including the Intergovernmental Agreement on Data Sharing, the Data Exchange and the National Disability Data Asset. Improved data sharing partnerships result in better outcomes for people and business, from more targeted and intuitive services to policies informed by sound evidence. They also maximise the value of government-held data and support our partners achieve their objectives more efficiently.
The Government spends on average around $70 billion each year on procurement activities, helping to drive economic, social and sustainability outcomes for Australia. This includes procuring a significant range of data and digital products, services and support from industry – everything from software and hardware, corporate systems, analytics tools and cloud services. This represents an opportunity to partner with industry, through the Commonwealth Procurement Framework, to identify the best solutions to deliver government services. The Framework also helps Government to take advantage of industry innovations, and seek industry’s support to solve emerging problems, through mechanisms like requests for information.
The Government’s Buy Australian Plan is helping to maximise opportunities for Australian businesses in major projects, create good local jobs including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and open the door to more government work for small and medium businesses by simplifying procurement processes.
The Government already leverages industry innovations, and seeks industry’s support to solve emerging problems, through initiatives like the Department of Industry, Science and Resources’ Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII). The BRII is a challenge-based innovation program which supports startups and SMEs to undertake research and development on new-to-market technologies in partnership with Australian Public Service agencies to solve public policy and service delivery challenges.
The Australian Government commits to:
- working with the private sector to improve sourcing and sharing of private sector data to reduce duplication and generate greater insights and serve the needs of people and business
- support more opportunities for small to medium businesses to sell to Government as part of the Buy Australian Plan
- a Charter of Partnerships and Engagement to guide engagement with people and business, including by highlighting co-design as a pillar of APS engagement, ensuring it remains a trusted partner. The Charter builds on the APS Framework for Engagement and Participation
- continue strong engagement with state and territory governments through the DDMM and Intergovernmental Agreement on Data Sharing.
Maximise value from data
Data and analytics create value for all people and business and help respond to the priority issues they face. Value is also created by sharing and re-using data, particularly government–held data.
The Productivity Commission’s inquiry on Data Availability and Use, identified barriers to sharing and releasing data which limit the use and value of Australia’s data. The report recommended moving from a risk-averse approach to one based on transparency and treating data as an asset. Progress has been made to overcome these barriers, however significant opportunity remains to improve how the Australian Government uses and shares the vast amount of data it has access to and manages.
Some data, including personal and sensitive information, must be closely held and only shared where necessary, appropriate and lawful. Meanwhile, other data may be underused or siloed due to a lack of awareness of its existence, a lack of access to the right analytical tools or capabilities, or legislative and other barriers. The Government is removing these barriers to encourage greater data use and sharing in ethical, secure and transparent ways to maximise its value, including through the establishment of the Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022 (DATA) Scheme.
Making data accessible to the right people and optimising its use through integration, analytics and broad capability uplift will be critical to achieving the Strategy’s vision. Better use of government-held data will generate benefits through developing evidence-based policy, designing and administering policies and programs, and performing more effective research and evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the Government’s programs and policies. The Australian Centre for Evaluation will help entities generate these benefits by integrating high-quality evaluation into all aspects of program and policy development.
The Government has used integrated data to conduct research, inform decisions and design services for years. Examples include the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) and the Person Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA, formerly MADIP). In addition, the online geospatial platform, Digital Atlas of Australia, brings together national location-based data to support place-based analytics and insights.
The National Disability Data Asset will be Australia’s most comprehensive disability data asset, connecting existing de-identified information from different entities. This new way to connect information will allow governments to improve programs and services, and better measure, track and report on outcomes for people with disability. The National Disability Data Asset represents a step change in efforts to establish a scalable platform for creating high-value national data integration assets to support data analytics across a range of public policy areas. The National Disability Data Asset and its platform also highlights the importance of partnering with states and territories to develop solutions to issues affecting the entire nation. Future partnerships – including those with industry, communities and academia – will be key to continuing to unlock the value of the data held by the Government.
Government-held data has value outside the APS and entities already make some data publicly available by default through platforms such as data.gov.au. Making government-held data more accessible to people and business will help them achieve their own objectives, be it in their local communities, in their organisations or as individuals.
The Australian Government commits to:
- collecting and analysing data to assess whether policies and services are achieving their intended purpose and are being implemented in the best possible way
- harnessing analytical tools and techniques (including machine learning and artificial intelligence) to predict service needs, improve user experience, support evidence-based decisions and gain efficiencies in agency operations
- requiring all government entities to make non-sensitive data open by default in compliance with relevant laws and appropriate privacy, security and ethical controls for sharing sensitive data
- developing the Australian National Data Integration Infrastructure in collaboration with the states and territories to support data sharing, integration and national linkage for the National Disability Data Asset
- continuing to invest in new enabling technologies and streamlining governance and data sharing processes to allow greater access to timely and accurate data
- encouraging all entities to build partnerships and share data across the APS and with state and territory governments, the private sector and non-government organisations
- fostering a culture of data innovation.