Malcolm Turnbull commits to opening up more government data to app developers

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has advocated opening up government data to third-party app developers during a speech to the Australian Information Industry Association’s Navigating Analytics Summit on Friday.

During the speech, Turnbull said the public sector lags behind private enterprise when it comes to applying big data analytic techniques.

“We are, unfortunately, behind our peers in the private sector when it comes to utilising technology—harnessing the power of digital innovation—to deliver better and more accessible services online,” Turnbull said.

Turnbull said the use of big data analytics can be applied by government to improve the efficiency and quality of government services, citing the MyBroadband website and the Australian Tax Office as key examples.

As SmartCompany previously reported, the MyBroadband website allows users to search for the quality of broadband available at a given premises, with the data forming the basis for the government’s Broadband Availability and Quality Report. Both the report and the website were launched in February.

Later in the speech, Turnbull cited a privately developed NSW transport app called TripView, which allows individuals to track the exact time of arrival of a bus or train from their nearest stop based on real time data from the state government.

The communications minister pledged to make more information from government databases available to third party app developers in the future.

“The Open Data movement contends that the best way to extract the value of government data is to give it to the private sector and citizens—to make it truly open,” he said.

“We are committed to turning around our slow start to empower the private sector to capitalise on the disruptive potential of information, of data.

“The establishment of data.gov.au and the publication of the Principles on Open Public Sector Information (PSI) have been important steps in opening up the data held by Commonwealth agencies for re-use.”

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