NSW govt calls for open data set solutions from private sector

NSW Minister for Finance Dominic Perrottet is calling on the private sector to provide solutions to help the state government utilise its publicly available open data sets.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

The private sector is better placed to develop technology aimed at utilising the government's publicly available data sets than the government itself, according to New South Wales Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet.

Perrottet today called upon the state's non-government sector players to come up with creative ways to employ information in the NSW government's publicly available open data sets, announcing that the Premier's Innovation Initiative Open Data challenge is open for submissions.

"The expression-of-interest phase is now open, and we are calling on the non-government sectors to come forward with new and creative ways to reuse or reinterpret information held by the government," said Perrottet in a statement.

"Specifically, we're asking for ideas on what they could do with potential data sets and also how we can fast track the release of open data," he said.

The state government is looking to the private sector to find ways to utilise open data, because non-government entities are in a better position than the government to create such technology, according to Perrottet.

The NSW government moved to make its data open by default late last year, with its open data policy released in November, stipulating that agencies "start from a position of data openness", unless there is an "overriding reason" for data not to be released.

In July, the state government went a step further, launching its revamped Open Data Dashboard website, data.nsw.gov.au, to provide the public with information on recently added data sets and case studies on how data has been employed in the development of apps.

Perrottet said that while there is now plenty of data available to the public, the government is still on the hunt for other uses for the data, and wants to release more data to developers.

"Large amounts of data have already been made available online through our NSW Open Data Portal; however, we want to explore other uses for our data and what de-identified datasets can be fast-tracked for release to developers.

"Greater transparency and an accelerated release of data could help with the creation of new products and apps that could provide wider benefits for the whole community," he said.

NSW government data is now accessed more than 40 million times per month, according to Perrottet, with apps such as TripView and NSW Seniors Card developed through the use of the open data.

Expressions of interest for the Premier's Innovation Initiative Open Data challenge can be lodged until October 13.

The call for the NSW private sector to develop apps using the government's open data comes as the Victorian Minister for Innovation Louise Asher announced the release of 11 new "technology challenges" as part of Round 2 of the Victorian Coalition government's AU$16 million Driving Business Innovation program.

The grants program, funded in the 2013-14 Victorian State Budget, is aimed at providing financial support for SMEs to develop products and services that meet an "identified market".

"SMEs are invited to propose solutions to the technology challenges, with successful proposals receiving a AU$75,000 grant to undertake a feasibility study over three months," said Asher. "These feasibility studies will then be assessed for a potential grant of up to AU$1million to develop a proof-of-concept prototype."

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