6 December 2019


Today, the Australian Data and Digital Council (ADDC) met in Sydney at the Sydney Start Up Hub, where the Commonwealth, State and Territory data and digital ministers considered a range of national data sharing and digital transformation collaborations.

The following Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers attended the meeting:

  • The Hon Stuart Robert (Commonwealth)
  • The Hon Victor Dominello MP (New South Wales) 
  • The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC (Victoria)
  • The Hon Mick de Brenni MP (Queensland)
  • The Hon Dave Kelly MP (Western Australia)
  • Mr Mick Gentleman MLA (Australian Capital Territory)

Improving Application Programming Interface (API) interoperability across all levels of government 

Today, ministers agreed to national API design standards, which will allow all levels of government and trusted third parties to securely share, re-use and enhance data in real time. The national API design standards create a common method of API development that all governments can adopt. This will create consistency between governments and promote interoperability between jurisdictions’ IT systems.

Governments across Australia will be able to develop services more efficiently, learning from each other and, where needed, have services that work well across jurisdictions. For citizens, this has potential to transform delivery of services to them throughout their lives. 

Trialling the Pan-European Public Procurement Online Standard (PEPPOL) with industry 

At the last ADDC meeting, the Commonwealth and New South Wales agreed to pilot the new PEPPOL standard for e-invoicing with industry. The pilot involved end to end business process testing and ran from mid-September to the end of November 2019. Six industry service providers and government departments participated in the pilot.

The pilot successfully generated efficiencies for government and businesses across various invoicing milestones and enabled payments to be made within the target of five business days. The Commonwealth will now implement e-invoicing through the Shared Services Hubs and the Australian Taxation Office is working with Commonwealth agencies to implement PEPPOL e invoicing. New South Wales will roll out e-invoicing in two more departments in the first half of 2020. South Australia has also agreed to participate and is exploring a roll-out of e-invoicing across South Australian Government agencies. Adoption of e-invoicing will mean faster payments to suppliers, improving cashflow for businesses in Australia and process efficiencies for government agencies and suppliers.

Generating new insights into birth defects through improved data sharing

In September 2018, Western Australia and the Commonwealth commenced a project to explore linkage of Commonwealth pharmaceuticals data with Western Australia’s data on children born with birth defects, to generate new insights into the potential effects of prescription medication taken by mothers while pregnant.

Ministers tasked senior officials to identify options to overcome barriers to sharing sensitive data between governments. Data sharing and integration can generate a wealth of insights to inform policy makers, however, maintaining the safety and security of personal data remains of paramount importance.

The Commonwealth and Western Australia have agreed to trial an innovative linkage method – Privacy Preserving Record Linkage (PPRL) – to integrate relevant data sets without the need to share identifiable data beyond a jurisdiction. PPRL is an established international method of linkage. Should PPRL prove to be a successful method to link these data sets, Western Australia will work with researchers to develop a research proposal, with the aim of informing future pharmaceutical policies relating to pregnant women. 

Building community trust in data and digital initiatives

Ministers discussed the importance of building citizens’ trust, and understanding and addressing their expectations about how governments deliver digital services and manage their data. The Council agreed future ADDC projects will be implemented with a view to earning and maintaining public trust, starting with citizens at the centre.

In an increasingly complex world of greater data collection, enabled by new technologies, a genuine commitment to building public trust requires meaningful engagement and honest dialogue with the public about their expectations, needs and concerns. Governments need to consider privacy, security, transparency and ethics in conducting data and digital activities, underpinned by strong governance arrangements.

Transforming services for people having a baby

Developing services based on people’s key life events – such as when they have a baby – allows governments to deliver the highest impact support to people when they need it the most. One of the key challenges at this time is that people need to interact with a number of agencies and many layers of government. The ADDC is committed to streamlining these interactions and making it simpler for people to engage with government.

Today, ministers noted the progress on the Birth of a Child pilot program, including the planned approach to reduce the burden of form filling for new parents by reusing information that governments already hold. The Birth of a Child pilot will design, implement and test a process to automate newborn birth registration, enrolments in Medicare and accessing Centrelink payment services, in the Australian Capital Territory and parts of Queensland. The findings from the pilot will inform a national rollout to improve parents’ engagement with government during the life event of having a baby. This will also include exploring the construct for a national digital birth certificate.

Next meeting

Ministers agreed the next Australian Data and Digital Council would be held in March 2020, in Perth, Western Australia.

Information on the Australian Data and Digital Council, including previous meeting communiqués, can be found at www.pmc.gov.au/ADDC.

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