13.09.2017

Queensland signals move to digital by default


Queensland is promising more convenient government transactions and more open data with the release of its four-year digital strategy, known as Digital1st.

Digitising common processes will save huge amounts of public money and save everyone time, argues Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeane Enoch.

“In just one example, by replacing paper-based transactions with over 400 new online services, the government can save an estimated $13 per transaction. This amounts to around $400 million per year that can be redirected to other services, and there is so much more to come,” she said in a statement.

“Hundreds of government services still need you to spend time out of your day to visit a counter with a form and ID when you want to apply for things like a licence, vehicle permits, or land tax payments.

“Taking a digital approach means getting more services online and enabling Queenslanders to only have to prove their identity once. Transforming these everyday services will mean time-savings for Queenslanders, as well as government employees.”

The push towards digital is starting with a pilot simplifying the process for starting a new cafe. Finding the relevant food business licences now takes 10 minutes, rather than a week, says the government.

Other key examples of the value of digital being presented by the government include making patient data more available to medical professionals and the use of drones to monitor marine turtles. A digital hospital program converting medical records from traditional charts and paper files will be introduced to 24 hospitals by 2020.

Opening up to open data

The sunshine state is also hoping to give its digital economy a boost, with Enoch announcing Queensland’s first open data policy statement.

“Open data produces value through improved services, it enhances inclusion and responsiveness, and it also stimulates the digital economy,” the minister said.

To achieve the goals of transparency, economic development and improved public administration, the government says agencies will:

  • Make non-sensitive data open by default and encourage its reuse;
  • Make data available with easy to use, interoperable, high quality and reliable APIs;
  • Conduct an annual open data maturity assessment and action plan;
  • Develop a public registry listing of high value data sets, non-sensitive data sets that are not yet available, and sensitive data sets that will not be made available;
  • Anonymise sensitive data to enable release;
  • Build core data literacy skills within their own organisations;
  • Provide support and mentoring at GovHack events;
  • Ensure all new systems support data discovery, access and interoperability to facilitate the cost-effective release of data.

The government says it will develop coordinated action plans and identify existing mechanisms and policies to support the implementation of the policy statement. It plans to create user-friendly ways to access and understand the data by establishing consistent metadata standards across government, providing meaningful data visualisations and clear licensing.

Requests for data can be made through data.qld.gov.au. Users will be able to appeal decisions not to release data.