Data linkage investments to renew WA public sector capability

By Melissa Coade

Thursday May 26, 2022

WA's parliament house
WA has set aside $8 million for more jobs and technology across critical portfolios. (AAP Image/Adam Gartrell)

The WA state government has set aside $8 million to create more jobs and buy technology that will support medical research and streamline public services across critical portfolios.

The money will go to purchasing technical equipment and services to ensure data security. Some of it will also be used to create 10 new roles in the Office of Digital Government, with a view to ​​building, operating, governing and usage of a central data asset.

ICT minister Stephen Dawson said the team had a mandate to deliver the government’s 2021-2025 digital strategy.

“The Office of Digital Government is building analytics capabilities to address our state’s most pressing complex social, health, environmental and economic issues,” Dawson said in a statement.

“Improved linkage capabilities will enable decisions to be better informed by data and will aid researchers in their efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of all Western Australians.”

The state’s health and medical researchers are also expected to benefit from the data linkage reforms. 

Working with the WA health department, the Office of Digital Government team has been tasked with building a safe, privacy-preserving data environment.

Dawson said the reforms would allow the government to make policy and operational decisions informed by relevant data. 

“The government is committed to ensuring data we have at our disposal is used to deliver the best possible outcomes for services, policy and strategy for Western Australians,” he said.

Recommendations from a 2016 data linkage review led by WA chief scientist Professor Peter Klinken were used to develop the newly announced reforms. The review consulted the research, not-for-profit and public sectors for its final report. 

Klinken explained the reforms would better interrogate information across multiple datasets. Industry-leading cyber security measures will also be deployed.

“The state government collects data in the course of daily operations, and it’s important that we not only protect that information but utilise it in an effective manner,” Klinken said. 

The multi-million dollar investment will be drawn from the state’s digital capability fund.


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