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Data sharing commitments strengthen at most recent Data and Digital Ministers Meeting

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

Progress has been made on the National Data Sharing Program at the 12 November 2021 Data and Digital Ministers Meeting (DDMM).

Meeting for the 20th time, the group of national and state Ministers, chaired by the Federal Minister responsible ICT and digital matters, Stuart Robert, agreed to work with their emergency services counterparts on the various data and technology related recommendations made by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, including the development of an emergency warning app.

The group also discussed the recently concluded, 18 month pilot of the National Disability Data Asset (NDDA), giving in-principle endorsement for new national data assets linking large human services datasets.

The NDDA focuses on the sharing of ‘person-centred’ data and aims to link and share de-identified data to drive service improvements for people with disabilities.

The pilot is a collaboration between NSW (providing the national project team out of its Department of Premier and Cabinet), Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and the Federal Government. The Federal government is represented by the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Social Services, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (providing the technical project team).

There was agreement in-principle to take this broad ‘data asset’ approach to other large human services datasets, with Ministers noting its potential application to the challenges in Aged Care and in Closing the Gap, a program that continues to suffer from a lack of timely data sets across its 17 targets.

Ministers also discussed the digital identity system, a federal-state challenge that has been dragging on for many years. The government released draft legislation to support the new regime for consultation in October.

The pandemic was also on the agenda. Ministers noted that vaccination status has now been integrated into check-in apps in NSW, Victoria, ACT and NT, and discussed the inclusion of booster shots in the future.

The DDMM reached agreement on data sharing priorities in August including emergency management, recycling, and road safety).

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Ministers confirmed at the DDMM meeting on 24 September that they are working to modernise the system for collection, sharing and use of data in (near) real time.

Attendance

The November 20th meeting had representatives from nine jurisdictions.

Missing was Western Australian Don Punch, who has had a spotty attendance record, and is yet to release a digital strategy ‘Roadmap,’ five months after the state issued a revised 2021-25 strategy.

It was the first appearance in more than six months for New Zealand’s Dr David Clark and Tasmania’s Michael Ferguson.

New Zealand attends as a guest and is a "not a party to the Communique" issued following each meeting.

Ferguson’s last attended a DDMM in February 2021. In the intervening months Tasmania has had an election (May), received the final report of an independent review of the Tasmanian State Service (TSS) in July, and delivered the 2021-22 budget (September).

Roberts, NSW’s Dominello, and ACT’s Chris Steele have maintained a perfect attendance record (9 out of 9) since the Australian Digital Council (ADC) was reconstituted as the Data and Digital Ministers Meeting (DDMM) for its 13th meeting in November 2020.