Bureau of Communications Research: Open government data and why it matters now

In Australia, the economy-wide value of government data is estimated to be between $500 million and $25 billion per year.

The Department of Communications, Bureau of Communications Research, report examines, through a critical literature review, the economic nature of government data and its contribution to the economy and society.  The report concludes that:

  • open government data invariably has a net economic benefit;
  • the maximum public benefit will accrue from free provision of raw government data; or, at most, pricing data at the incremental cost of provision;
  • value-adding in open government data is generally better left to the private sector; and,
  • certain government data sets that are likely to have more significant economic impacts.

Dr Paul Paterson, Chief Economist and Head of the Bureau of Communications Research, outlines on the BCR website;

‘In Australia, users can already access and re-use more than 7000 government data sets published on data.gov.au,’ said Dr Paul Paterson, Chief Economist and Head of the Bureau of Communications Research.

‘Some of the high-value data sets include geospatial/mapping data, health data, transport data, mining data, environmental data, demographics data, and real-time emergency data.

‘Many Australians are unaware of the flow-on benefits from open government data as a result of the increased innovation and informed choice it creates. For example open data has the power to generate new careers, more efficient government revenues, improved business practices, and drive better public engagement.’

Finally, the BCR added this call to action:

‘As more government data sets are released, the private sector, academia, and individuals need to take better advantage of the opportunities this raw data provides.’

Click here to download a copy of the report.

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