Come get the data, Carr tells researchers

07/03/2013 – 9:28 am
Tony McCall

Human Services Minister Kim Carr is doing the rounds of Australian universities to encourage researchers to dip into the honeypot of data which his department is making available.

The material provides huge potential for those working in health, the social sciences and many other areas, and has been welcomed by those pressing for more open information from governments.

The proposal to free up the data was first discussed late last year at a low-key conference of academics and public servants.

Senator Carr, visiting Deakin University yesterday to discuss how government data could support academic studies, said the department had a quarter of the Commonwealth’s staff, two-fifths of its budget and the biggest IT network in the southern hemisphere.

It made 200 million individual payments a year, including through Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency, and sought to “look after Australians through every stage of life.”

“So this is our window to a changing society. This is the DNA of modern Australia. Over seven million gigabits of data. The question for us is how we use it. And this is the time to be having that conversation.”

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author: Michelle Grattan
source: The Conversation (7/3/13)

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