Decorative ImageThe Open Data Policy's implementation guide and tools:

  • clearly outlines the Western Australian Government's position on open data
  • encourages a well-considered and consistent approach across the public sector to opening access to data (which also ensures the privacy of individuals is adequately protected)
  • demonstrates the value of data and the potential benefits of opening access to data
  • helps agencies implement best practice information management principles to achieve open data objectives.

What is Open Data?

In practice  across Australia and throughout the world, the approach to open data varies to some extent.

For the purpose of this policy, data is considered 'open' when it is:

  • released and available for the general public (not for exclusive use)
  • easily discoverable
  • in formats that are modifiable, non-proprietary and machine-readable
  • licensed to enable reuse and redistribution
  • available at no cost to users.

The Open Data Policy recognises the above situation for 'open' data is not always possible or appropriate.

For example, there may be instances where more restrictive licences are used and/or a charge is applied.

Why Open Data?

Opening access to government data, together with removing restrictions surrounding its use, is a growing trend nationally and internationally. Better management and use of data within government, and enabling broader access and use (eg by non-government organisations, businesses and industry, academia and members of the public) has a range of potential benefits for both the public sector and the community.

This includes a more efficient and effective government through improvements in the use and application of data for financial and evidence-based policy decisions, strategic and targeted cross-agency collaboration, and the development of innovative solutions, services and tools where there is an identified policy or community need. Opening access to data also supports government efficiencies and savings through reduced duplication, streamlined processes, and the development and delivery of tools/services more quickly and at lower costs.

For the broader community, potential social and economic benefits include opportunities to develop new businesses and industries (including the not-for-profit sector),  improved research outcomes, and better business and community decision-making.

Opening access to government data also promotes a more transparent and accountable government by providing greater visibility around activity and expenditure.