In Australia, the economy-wide value of government data is estimated to be up to $25 billion per year, according to the government’s own Bureau of Communications Research. That means there is tremendous economic benefit in asking people outside of government to find value from the data it generates.
However, beyond economic benefits, there are even greater societal factors at play that should impress upon government the case for citizen engagement through data.
Put simply, citizens want access to the data and the onus is on the government to give it to them in a useful – and neutral – format.
“When a citizen reads something in the newspaper, reads a tweet, has a chat with their neighbour, sees something on TV they do not like, if they are going to stay engaged with our democracy and have a voice in this society, they need to be able to reach out and have at their fingertips the government information,” National Archives of Australia director-general David Fricker said.
“They need to find the truth.”
“The information has to be obvious, discoverable, compatible with the way they want to use it and reliable so that they can have a voice in democracy, have an influence on government, have an opinion which has got equal weight with all of the other opinions in the discourses, debates, arguments and discussions that occur across Australian society.”
Original content and article on The Mandarin