The economic power of Victorian Government data is about to be unleashed with the announcement of two new policies that will enable unprecedented access to the state's data.
Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips, who announced the new DataVic Access and Intellectual Property policies last night at the 8th Annual Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards, said that Victorian Government data was one of the state's most important public assets.
"Each year the Victorian Coalition Government invests millions of dollars in producing and acquiring high-quality data about our state", Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"Giving recurrent and reliable access to this data is a long overdue stimulus that Victorian businesses and the community will be able to finally harness in developing innovative applications that create new services or improve existing ones.
"These new, comprehensive policies place Victoria at the head of the pack in Australia on mandating access to state government data.
"In driving the release of useable, high-quality data, these new policies will stimulate significant innovation and economic activity, creating a platform on which to develop new technologies, new services and ultimately, new jobs."
Mr Rich-Phillips said the Brumby Labor Government released data in the past but, until now, access to this data had been restrictive, fragmented and costly.
"Under the Victorian Coalition Government's DataVic Access and IP Policies, it will be significantly easier to identify Victorian Government data and to access it, in most cases, at no cost," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Mr Rich-Phillips said access to certain types of data would be restricted on the grounds of privacy, public safety, security and law enforcement, public health, pre-existing contractual arrangements or to comply with other laws.
Data will be available to users online through the re-developed Victorian Government data directory at www.data.vic.gov.au
Through Victoria's Technology Plan for the Future and policies like the DataVic Access Policy, the Coalition Government is ensuring that Victoria's ICT sector continues to play a key role in contributing to a competitive, productive and growing Victorian economy.
As a default position, data from all Victorian government agencies will now be supplied in a machine-readable format that will minimise costs to business and maximise use and reuse.
Research commissioned for the Australian National Data Service indicates that the economic benefits derived from providing access to government-held data are significant. For example, the return on investment for data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is around 500 per cent.
The spatial technology industry will play a key role in leveraging the opportunities which opening up access to government data will provide as it marries mapping, satellite and surveillance data with location-based data.
The applications enabled by geospatial technology are at the forefront of new digital services. These varied applications can be as significant as tracking the impacts of natural disasters and providing highly accurate public transport data or as incidental as finding the nearest quality coffee.
The development of the policy has also been assisted by the Victorian Information and Technology Advisory Committee (VICTAC) which was established in June 2012 to provide guidance to government on issues such as maximising access to government-held data.