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Top 10 tips for participants in the DATA Scheme

26 June 2023

3 min read

#Corporate & Commercial Law, #Government, #Data & Privacy

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Top 10 tips for participants in the DATA Scheme

The Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022 (Act) establishes a legislative scheme (DATA Scheme) for promoting the sharing of Australian Government data. The National Data Commissioner (Commissioner) has recently registered the first accredited users under the Act. This milestone serves as a reminder for Australian Government entities who are data custodians to be prepared for requests to share public sector data under the DATA Scheme.

First accredited users

The Commissioner recently entered the Commonwealth Treasury on the register of accredited entities as the first accredited user under the Act. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) and the Western Australian Department of Health followed shortly after as the second and third accredited users respectively.

As the ‘first cabs off the rank’ to achieve user accreditation, the Treasury, DISR and WA Department of Health may now request for public sector data under the Act.

Requests for data

Under the Act, a data custodian must, within a reasonable period, consider a request for data if the request is made by an accredited user in writing (noting there is currently no approved form for these requests). Data custodians are Commonwealth bodies that control public sector data or the output of certain data projects and are not excluded entities. If a data custodian decides to refuse a request, they must provide reasons within 28 days after the day of the decision.

Top 10 tips for participants

To prepare your organisation for participation in the DATA Scheme, follow our top 10 tips below:

  1. brief key decision makers on the DATA Scheme, the roles your organisation has or may have under the Scheme and its implications for sharing Australian Government data
  2. if your organisation is a data custodian, identify which area within your organisation will handle requests for data and develop processes to respond
  3. identify an authorised officer for your organisation and, if appropriate, prepare any written instrument for individual authorisation. You can find Treasury’s instrument on the Federal Register of Legislation (Data Availability and Transparency (Authorised Officers - Treasury) Authorisation 2022). The Commissioner has also provided guidance and a template
  4. consider on-boarding your organisation to Dataplace – a whole of government platform that will make it easier to share data. The Dataplace platform supports requests for data held by Australian Government entities, including those under the Act
  5. if your organisation intends to become an accredited user or an accredited data service provider, submit an application. Dataplace enables government agencies and Australian universities to submit applications for accreditation under the DATA Scheme
  6. assess your organisation’s current data governance maturity and decide if improvements are needed. The Data Discovery program offered by the Office of the National Data Commissioner helps Australian Government entities identify their data assets and develop a data inventory using a standard methodology
  7. prepare your organisation for data breach notification requirements under the DATA Scheme and ensure your systems are set up to address interactions between the Privacy Act notification requirements and the DATA Scheme
  8. when using data sharing agreements under the Act, factor registration time into your project schedule. A data sharing agreement under the DATA Scheme has no effect until the agreement is registered
  9. ensure your organisation complies with its obligations under the Act, including reporting requirements
  10. stay up to date with information from the Commissioner. The Commissioner regularly releases updates on developments relating to the DATA Scheme, including the latest guidance on data breach responsibilities and privacy requirements.

Key takeaways

The DATA Scheme introduces a new pathway for sharing Australian Government data and the accreditation of the first users marks a significant milestone. As data sharing under the Act commences, following these tips will help prepare your organisation for engagement with the DATA Scheme.  

If you have any questions about the DATA Scheme or how to apply to be accredited as data users and data service providers, please get in touch with our team below.

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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