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New South Wales government promises open data by default

Tim Berners-Lee's 5 Star Linked Open Data framework comes to Macquarie Street

The Australian State of New South Wales has released a new Open Data Policy (PDF) that determines “Data is open by default” in the state and that “Agencies start from a position of data openness, with the prerogative in favour of data release, unless there is a specific, overriding reason for data not to be released in accordance with The Government Information (Public Access) Act (such as in relation to the public interest test).”

The rationale for the new policy is that the government believes “Open data principles can lead to more responsive and smarter government, and better service delivery.”

Tim Berners-Lee's 5 Star Linked Open Data Model is advanced as the ideal model for agencies' open data efforts, non-proprietary and machine readable data formats are recommended and direction is offered that datasets should be free for the public to use.

The State's minister for finance and services Andrew Constance also said NSW is “piloting federation with the Commonwealth, Queensland and South Australian data portals” so data can be shared across Australia's internal borders.

Constance's vision is that open data will fuel development of apps and “improve access to services like public transport's real-time updates.”

The previous state government infamously cut off access to public transport data, leaving developers high and dry. The current regime reversed that policy and several public transport apps now exist, so there's hardly a gap in the market for such software. Constance is therefore trying to provoke new ideas with a refreshed competition for app developers.

Any data posted under the new policy will wind up at data.nsw.gov.au. ®

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