On 15 March 2019 the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released a Best Practice Guide to Applying Data Sharing Principles (the Guide) along with a brochure and video explaining how the Australian Government uses and manages public sector data.

The Guide outlines the following five Data Sharing Principles which government agencies can use to ensure that a focus on privacy and data security is retained when sharing or releasing data:

1. Projects: Sharing data for appropriate and authorised purposes.

2. People: Sharing data only with authorised users.

3. Settings: Using data in a safe and secure environment.

4. Data: Applying appropriate and proportionate protections to the data.

5. Outputs: Ensuring public outputs from data sharing projects do not identify the people or organisations in the data.

Agencies are urged to consider whether there is a public benefit in sharing data, including whether the data will be used securely, how detailed it is, what the project is, who will be using the data and whether results can be published without identifying the original data providers.

The Guide has been developed in response to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Data Availability and Use which was submitted on 8 May 2017. This inquiry provided many suggestions for reforms with aims of making the sharing of public sector data safer, fairer and more transparent for the benefit of all Australians. The introduction of the Data Sharing Principles is a welcomed first step in making this a reality and will hopefully enable the Government to build public confidence in how it manages and uses Australia's public data.

To view the full guidelines please click here.