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Victorian Government introduces data sharing Bill

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 23 October, 2017

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The Victorian Government has introduced new legislation that would seek to improve data sharing among all government agencies.

The Victorian Data Sharing Bill 2017 had its second reading in parliament last week. The proposed legislation would provide a clear legal framework that allows for government data to be shared for the purposes of policymaking, service planning and design.

It would include safeguards designed to protect personal information, including requiring independent oversight by Victoria’s privacy regulators as well as mandatory reporting of any potential breaches.

New offences will also be introduced covering the unauthorised access, use or disclosure of government data on individuals.

“We’re breaking down government silos, removing red tape and addressing other barriers to sharing data, so that we can improve services for hard-working Victorians,” Victorian Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings said.

“Victorians want us to use every tool at our disposal to make their lives better, boost jobs and keep them safe — this includes the vast amount of data and information that we hold across government. This Bill gets the right balance between the need to share data and important safeguards for privacy and security of information.”

The legislation is similar to the whole-of-government approach to data sharing proposed by Western Australia’s Data Linkage Expert Advisory Group as part of a review into WA’s own data linkage capabilities.

The Victorian Government is also involved in other initiatives to improve the state’s data and information sharing regime.

These include creating an Office of Victorian Information Commissioner covering freedom of information, data protection and privacy and developing a Central Information Point to facilitate information sharing across agencies involved in protecting women from family violence.

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