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  • Writer's pictureJamie Leach

Open Data Australia is declared open

Over an action packed two days, the team at Open Data Australia has officially declared the nation's newest data-related Not-for-Profit, Open for business. Open Data Australia (ODA), a new independent, not-for-profit data authority, will actively advise on open data issues related to the government, industry, research and the start-up community in Australia.

The first of the two official launches occurred in Brisbane, on Friday 1st March 2018, ahead of International Open Data Day. Combining the launch, a celebration of all things Open Data with the unveiling of the latest piece of Open Data Technology adopted by the Queensland Government led to an action-packed agenda for the event held at the historic "Stair Stadium" within Fortitude Valley's start-up Precinct.

Open Data Australia, CEO, Jamie Leach unveiled the team behind the brand, their key priorities for the new organisation and their methods to build the largest data community in Australia. Jamie was joined on stage by Queensland Government, Assistant Director-General, Digital Platforms and Data, Department of Housing and Public Works, Dallas Stower to assist in the official launch.

Jamie was also joined by the Australian Chair of GovHack, Jason Weigel, for a announcement of a partnership between the two organisations in an attempt to boost data literacy and provide practical assistance to progressing the GovHack culture and participation around the country. This partnership will involve joint sponsorship, the development of education material and mentoring support at GovHack events.

In Sydney, the launch was similarly attended by a mixture of government employees, industry representation, start-ups and data consumers. Held at Microsoft's Sydney CBD offices, 1 Martin Place, Open Data Australia's guest speaker was the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Ed Santow. Sharing his passion for tempering risk against reward, and the need for progressing the data debate around openness and transparency, Ed Santow emphasised the need for greater public awareness of data related issues around data privacy and data ethics.

Open Data Australia (ODA), a new independent, not-for-profit data authority, will actively advise on open data issues related to the government, industry, research and the start-up community in Australia. The ODA will focus on developing digital strategies, strengthening data capabilities, designing data-driven tools, and building a data community with the aim to raise the quality of data nationally.

“Data volumes are exploding at a pace faster than ever before. Just because data is being created, doesn’t mean that workers know how to gain insights from the data. The time to raise the quality of data across the board is now,” according to Jamie Leach, CEO at Open Data Australia. “Establishing better information practices and collaboration across industry and government locally and internationally is vital to ensure that we find the balance of ensuring trust and privacy, so we can apply innovative ways to use data to improve citizen outcomes.”

As part of the launch, a new business model of memberships and supporters’ packages for the organisation was also unveiled to allow individuals and businesses to join ODA to achieve global best practice for Australia’s digital strategy.

Mark Shaw, Chair of Open Data Australia, said the new organisation will build a community of data enthusiasts and visionaries, and work closely with other institutes around the world, including the Open Data Institute in London and the Canadian Government who are leading the digital transformation stakes. “Data knows no boundaries and the potential to learn from global best practice is phenomenal,” he said.

“There is the potential for state and federal governments to replicate global best practice through key partnerships and open data that have been adopted in United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Canada and Europe.”

Appointees to the Open Data Australia board alongside Mark Shaw and Jamie Leach includes:  Dr Audrey Lobo-Pulo, Founder Phoensight (Australia)  Dr Natalie Rens, Founder, Astreia (Canada)  Ibrahim Elbadawi, Managing Partner, Exantium (Dubai/Australia)  David Beardmore (United Kingdom)  Ken Benson (Australia/United Kingdom)

Open Data Australia will be headquartered in Brisbane and have representations in both Sydney and Canberra.

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