Strategic priority 2

Greater insights for better services

Better sharing and use of data across government can drive improved and targeted services for everyone. Improving analytics will also increase the efficiency of delivery and produce better outcomes.

The government has made considerable progress in how data is used to improve services, but more can be done. Data integration and analysis will give us new insights into important and complex policy questions. It will have positive implications for the lives and wellbeing of Australians.

In 2017, the Productivity Commission released detailed recommendations to improve the use of data across the public sector. It found that a number of legislative and cultural barriers prevent the full potential of the government’s data from being unlocked.

That means that even if you asked us to share some information for better services or to meet your needs, we may be unable to do so.

On 1 May 2018, the government committed to reforming public sector data governance while strengthening trust and confidence in the system. We established a National Data Commissioner to develop legislation that realises the benefits of increased data use. We recognise that data is a strategic national resource that holds considerable value for growing the economy, improving service delivery and transforming policy outcomes for Australians.

Detecting adverse events from medical prescriptions

Patients can experience unexpected harmful effects after taking some medicines. These can be difficult to identify through clinical trials before their release. Government researchers analysed prescription data from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This research looked for medicines that might be associated with heart failure. Through data analytics, 5 new medicines were identified that may cause harm to certain patients. This demonstrates the power of using data for good, Australian lives can be saved through identifying medicines or combinations that may cause harm.