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Victorian Government releases budget data in real time

Submitted on Monday, 04th May - 9.47.

The complete data for  2015-16 Victorian State Budget is now available. The Treasurer handed down the State Budget on Tuesday 5 May 2015.  In conjunction with the budget, the budget data has being release in in reusable formats on and this site. This is the first time the complete collection of Budget papers in reusable formats has been released on budget day.

The Victorian Government has released budget data in reusable formats for a number of years. This year sees an improvement on the timeliness and completeness of the data in reusable form.  

The data is in a mix of formats (CSV and XLSX) and is categorised as State Budget 2015 16. In previous years' the dataset ‘Budget Paper No 4: State Capital Program’ was of particular interest.

The Budget data provides projections of Government revenue and expenditure for the following year, and outlines services to be delivered. Financial data is widely recognised as high value to the community and DTF has committed to the ongoing timely release of government financial publications in reusable formats.






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Public Sector Week Open Data Showcase

Submitted on Friday, 29th May - 3.19.

To celebrate  collobration between the public sector and the developer community we are seeking to showcase the exciting developments that web and application developers are doing with open government data.
In conjunction with Public Sector Week, the State Government of Victoria are asking data developers to show us what they can do with open government data.

Getting invovled is easy all you need to do is submit a two-minute video showcase of how they have used open Victorian Government data.

All submissions must be recieved by 5pm Tuesday 16 June 2015.

Video showcase guidelines

Submission Criteria:

  • The video showcase should describe how the data was used, what else it can be used for and whether there are any wishlists for future data use.
  • It must include the use of Victorian Government data, but may be combined with data from other sources
  • Maximum two minutes duration in length
  • Video must either be accessible via YouTube or sent in an avi or wmi format
  • Video is not required to be a professional production – emphasis is on the subject matter, creativity in ‘showcasing’ the use of the data and how the ‘story’ is told

Each submission should be accompanied by a short bio on the participants, details on when they developed the application and reasons for producing it.

Submissions must include the link to the video or attached file.


All submissions must be recieved by 5pm Tuesday 16 June 2015.  

Approved submissions will be promoted on


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Open Data Exchange Webinar

Submitted on Tuesday, 26th May - 10.38.

Date: Tuesday 23 June

Time: 11.00am-12.00pm

Location: At your desk

Want to know how to use open government data or what is being created with open data? Tune in to our free live webinar to listen to key speakers from across the public sector and data users.
Join our expert panel as they discuss all there is to know about open government data! Speakers include:
• Neil Smith, Manager- Information Management, CIO Division, PTV
• Serryn Eagleson, Data Hubs Leader, Australian Urban Intelligence Network (AURIN)
• Dr Hossein Parsa, Team Lead, Spatial Systems VicRoads
• Fiona Tweedie, Open Knowledge Foundation

The panel will discuss how they have used open government data to deliver benefits for their agencies and take a look at how data developers have used the data sets available to them to create applications.

 During this live webinar, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and  gain an insight into how open government data works.



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Victorian Government embraces Creative Commons 4.0

Submitted on Friday, 13th March - 5.33.

 The Victorian Government has directed the public sector to embrace Creative Commons version 4.0 licensing.

Creative Commons (CC) is an international not for profit organisation which provides free copyright licences that allow flexible re-use of copyright material by the public. CC licences have been applied to billions of works worldwide, including music, photographs, articles and books. CC version 4.0 is the first international form of CC licensing, removing the need for different licences in each jurisdiction. CC version 4.0 also includes other improvements from the previous version.

For some years, has used CC version 3.0 as its default copyright licence applied to datasets. With the publication of the IP Guidelines, has changed its default licence to CC Attribution 4.0 International. Existing datasets published under CC version 3.0 will progressively be switched to the latest version, and the vast majority of new datasets will be published under CC 4.0.

Implementation of CC version 4.0 on and on other Government copyright material will ensure that the public can freely re-use the material, without seeking prior permission. This will allow simple uses such as printing and distribution in a class room, as well as more complex uses such as remixing or developing commercial software apps.

The publication of the IP Guidelines reflects a worldwide shift to open government, which has been embraced by the OECD, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. As well as recommending CC version 4.0, the Guidelines encourage agencies to:

  • proactively release copyright material;
  • grant rights to IP with the fewest possible restrictions;
  • not seek ownership of IP in procurement and funding agreements;
  • not commercialise IP; and
  • use third party IP appropriately.

The IP Guidelines are available here



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A new place for crime statistics in Victoria

Submitted on Thursday, 26th February - 23.55.

After a long conversation about the availability of crime statistics in Victoria, the new Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) commenced public operations on 1 January 2015. It is the agency responsible for reporting and releasing recorded crime statistics for Victoria.

The CSA will release year-to-date crime statistics each quarter, with the first release available on the CSA website from the 19th March 2015.. For more information on future releases please see the release calendar.

The CSA currently has an interesting interactive map that provides a snapshot of crime data in Victoria, and allows users to look at crime across the state by time period, offence type and location. This also enables a simple way to track trends.

The next phase of the CSA’s work involves developing a research agenda for 2015-17, which is currently underway.

The Research Agenda will be informed by:

  • A wide-ranging consultation with government, non-government and academic stakeholders that was conducted in the second half of 2014.
  • A review of recent and relevant criminological literature.

To have your say on the research agenda contact the CSA.    

The establishment of CSA continues the commitment by the Victorian Government to open up its data and make it available to the public.

What out for new data coming in March 2015.


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Improvements in Australia’s open data journey

Submitted on Tuesday, 27th January - 7.47.

The 2014 Global Open Data Index released in late 2014 ranks Australia number 5 in the world for openness up from number 9 in 2013. The UK was ranked number 1 in both 2013 and 2014.

Although the Global index shows an improvement in the Australian open data scene, there is still a long and complex journey ahead.

The areas where the Australian score was consistently dragged down were:

  • Not providing data in a machine readable format, to assist with its reuse;
  • Not having the data available in bulk; and
  • Not having the data up to date.

The data set that was considered to be the least open in Australia was Government spending.

The Global Open Data Index developed by Open Knowledge, provides an overview of the state of open data around the world.

The Index benchmarks open data by comparing ten datasets in each jurisdiction and assessing them against set criteria to determine their level of openness.

The datasets benchmarked are:

  1. Election Results (national)
  2. Company Register
  3. National Map (Low resolution: 1:250,000 or better)
  4. Government Spending (high level of spending by sector)
  5. Government Budget (detailed transactional level data)
  6. Legislation (laws and statutes)
  7. National Statistical Office Data (economic and demographic information)
  8. National Postcode database
  9. Public Transport Timetables (National)
  10. Environmental Data on major sources of pollutants (e.g. location, emissions)

The following questions examine technical openness:

  • Does the data exist?
  • Is the data in digital form?
  • Is the data available online?
  • Is the data machine-readable?
  • Is it available in bulk?
  • Is the data provided on a timely and up to date basis?

The following questions examine the legal status of openness:

  • Is the data publicly available?
  • Is the data available for free?
  • Is the data openly licensed?

Currently there are over 3500 Victorian Government data sets available on data.vic from which a number of applications have been developed, one example, GO is a simple app available on Apple iTunes and Google Play to let people in Melbourne know when their next train is leaving.  Do you have examples of how data has been used to develop applications or as part of research? We would love to you to share them with us here

Are you looking for a particularly data set that you can’t find?  You can suggest a data set and we will try and track it down for you.


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Is bigger data better?

Submitted on Tuesday, 18th November - 11.22.


The Mandarin has published an interesting critique of the concept of 'Big Data'. 

Cassandra Wilkinson of the The Centre for Independent Studies says that "big data is a solution looking for a problem":

"Unfortunately, many consultants are selling an idea that the hard and urgent work of improving our program design and delivery methodologies can be superseded by mashing up thousands of data sets to reveal “insights” which usually amount to general correlations like geo-location and socio-economic status which any experienced public servant could have predicted."

According to Ms Wilkinson, the most important thing is that data is fit-for-purpose:

"What we really need is small data... We need outcomes which are expected to be found absent or present in trackable data sets such as attendance at school, entry to hospital or entry into foster care...

Despite the massive changes in the sophistication of data, our challenge remains exactly as it always has been — connect the inputs to the outputs and the outputs to the outcomes."

These are interesting reflections for both creators and users of data. 

Data.Vic is keen to ensure that high value datasets are made available to the community. One of the best ways for users to help us to achieve this goal is to suggest datasets for publication using the Suggest a Dataset tool. These suggestions are provided to the appropriate department or agency for action, providing a clear signal about which datasets the community really needs.


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Opening government data - the reuse community

Submitted on Wednesday, 06th August - 6.58.

The demand that government should publish the data that it collects and generates in the course of its work comes from a number of sources. Transparency advocates see open Public Sector Information as a key plank of open government. Researchers in numerous fields can find uses for government data and there’s no doubt that improving the availability of data can increase efficiency within government by reducing duplication in information collection. Open data advocates also argue that there is a broader community with interest in this data and that benefits will flow from making it available to them. It may seem like an article of faith that this community exists but the experience of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Victoria is that it is very real.

In December 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation and VicRoads held a meetup, which brought together government data custodians with over fifty data enthusiasts. A diverse group with interests including mapping, urban planning and transport safety came along to learn more about the data that is available and make suggestions about the data they’d like to see released. The evening generated a lot of enthusiasm, but the goal of data publication is not just interest, but reuse.

GovHack is a national hackathon that took place in eleven sites around the country between 11 and 13 July 2014. Over the weekend, teams worked with a huge range of data from local, state and federal government to create interactive tools, visualisations and pieces of data journalism. Some hacks make data more accessible or engaging, other hacks tackled specific challenges posed by the data providers, such as creating a dashboard of essential information for exploring Melbourne or helping people with accessibility needs navigate the city.

Helping these projects to have a life beyond the weekend is a further challenge, but GovHack organisers hope that as the community matures more teams will be able to work with data owners to bring these projects into a useable form. Even if the teams that created the hacks don’t want to keep working on the project, the fact that all entries must be open source means that others are free to develop a promising idea.

An event like GovHack generates a huge number of ideas, from the serious to the playful, in a short space of time. It also serves a broader purpose in increasing awareness of and interest in government data in the maker community and increasing understanding between data owners and consumers. Ultimately, building a collaborative relationship between government data custodians and the reuse community will help generate creative solutions to problems and give government data a life beyond the collecting agency.

Photo by Jordan Wilson Otto


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GovHack 2014

Submitted on Friday, 11th July - 16.10.

We anticipate some very interesting outcomes.

#GovHack #melbourne #ballarat

GovHack (see a national non-profit event that brings together 1300+ participants to collaborate on and experiment with (‘hack’) government data and new technologies and to conceive innovative and new applications for that data.

In Victoria, at sites in Melbourne and Ballarat, over 200 hackers will compete for State and National prizes.

The Victorian Government is a Principal sponsor and has partnered with the City of Melbourne and organisers, the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Data.vic is delighted to support GovHack 2014 with the release of brand new data including;

-        building permit data; (ie. seven years, >100,000 permits per year, and in bulk, comprising over 22 million data elements)

-        Victoria’s waterways data; (spatial boundaries, images, rules, zones and allowed use)

-        crashstats, speed zone and speed sign datasets.

Done well, hacks provide an opportunity to work with government data and create new innovation and ideation.

Doing well means maximising hackers knowledge of available data as well as building enthusiam and insights for its potential use. At a meet-up last month this and other Victorian data was showcased to registered GovHackers.

We anticipate some very interesting outcomes.

  , .

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Google Glass uses Melbourne Transport Timetable data

Submitted on Wednesday, 02nd April - 16.10.

I also note this news last week about more transport data with the announcement of the contractor for the PTV's new bus tracking system due to be delivered by June 2014. The Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder clearly stated his intentions to provide open access to the bus data.

Following the release of VictorianTransport Timetable data last month, there has been some interesting activity by innovators.

To update and add to the stats of last month's post about  Victorian Timetable data I am delighted to see the enthusiasm and innovation applied.

For example one Melbourne developer has taken the next step by creating a transport app for Google Glass.
A voice controlled app which tracks the wearer's location and when instructed shows which transport options are available to them. This is taking available technology to another level.

I'm on the look-out for more, so let me know about what you're building.

And, to update, since the release of the API data record there has been:

  • 4693 data record page views
  • more than 920 downloads of the API document, and
  • close to 119 API key requests

I also note this news last week about more transport data with the announcement of the contractor for the PTV's new bus tracking system due to be delivered by June 2014. The Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder clearly stated his intentions to provide open access to the bus data.


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