How should data be prioritised for release?


What challenges do you face in creating an inventory of data and prioritising its release?


More health and transport data please


Queensland’s Health and Transport data is published on You can request new data if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

If the Government received many requests to open new data, how should it prioritise these requests?

  • first come, first served
  • easiest to release (e.g. doesn’t need de-identification of sensitive data, easy to export from source system)
  • through some group of community representatives
  • based on some assessment of the value releasing the data could provide
  • some other basis?

Should a Queensland Government policy provide guidance on this or should decisions be left to individual Departments?


I propose a central team assessing and prioritising provides great independence and can be more impartial and holistic in assessment. Often data held by one department can deliver outcome to other agencies. This team could look at the social and economic opportunity the data may deliver if released holistically and hold a central list. Ultimately the decision to release should sit with the owning agency who will wear the costs of publishing. Some form of whole of Govt governance can then assess and report on the performance of individual agencies.


Hi Stephen,

Excellent question - and any approach is sure to have both supporters and detractors.

To take your last question first, I reckon you do need a clear whole-of-Qld-gov policy that reduces community (and even staff) confusion when different agencies apply different policy approaches.

I strongly recommend Qld government stay away from an assessment of value approach - as this would, in many cases, be highly subjective and open to criticism. Open data use is often passion-driven, and many valuable uses can be difficult to quantify as they’re driven by quality rather than quantity metrics which are more subjectively measured.

In my view the community representatives approach is the best as it allows for a range of perspectives to be presented. However this could be applied on top of an ‘easiest to release’ approach - where the straightforward datasets are simply released, and prioritisation mainly occurs around the more tricky datasets.

With community representatives meeting regularly the ‘first come’ approach is baked in - as they’d consider the requests from that month and adjust against previous months only when there’s a strong reason to do so.

By the way, using the community representative approach I’d also recommend drawing from a pool larger than simply Victoria. Having a few representatives from around Australia and even internationally with more experience in open data would help inject more insights into what data will provide the most value over time. Meetings could be virtual and voluntary, with comments provided beforehand by people who can’t make a meeting.


Hi Stephen,

I heard from orther organisations that they publish data on a needs basis. So if someone can explain the need they are willing to provide an interface that both parties agree upon.

I think that is a way to consider also - maybe an addition option?



Benchmarking of availability and quality of open data internationally perhaps may work as a healthy peer pressure?

Data audit or inventory of what exists or can be useful to others may require ‘cultural awareness’ of usefulness of the data-set owned or managed by individual or branch or department.

The structure, storage and format of data including ‘open and shareable’ standards may also be required to help facilitate the ease in exchange.

“MyData” to “OurData” to “OurOpenData” requires cultural change and leadership.

“What is it for me?” type mindset may need to be changed through influence by senior management within each authority/ department.


The Heart Foundation recommends an open data policy should support transparency and accountability of the Queensland Government who are entrusted to spend taxpayers money for the benefit of all. This is the basis of our democracy.

Health data inclusion should be prioritised. We need good access to health data in a timely manner. The Heart Foundation experienced a 12 month delay in being able to access data for our Heart Maps to show, amongst other things, the relationship between your place of residence and your cardiovascular risk, and hospitalisations. This data is essential for health planners and services to more efficiently plan and provide services, ultimately saving lives and reducing suffering. And saving the bottom line. Health is taking up approx… 28% of the total State Budget and this needs to be reduced through greater efficiency and increased Preventive health measures.

Preventive Health data access is needed to improve practice:

  • Tobacco law breaches: In the Health sector we see examples of data not being provided transparently. For example, it is difficult to find data on breaches of tobacco laws eg. sales to minors by retailers and breaches by licensed venues and so on. Public open data and reporting of that data would allow better implementation of the legislation, showing who has breached and ensure they are penalised. This will make the laws more effective, and better achieve the outcome measure of less children being sold cigarettes and reduced smoking rates.

  • Preventive Health campaign data: Data (and the reporting of that data) showing the success or not of Preventive Health campaigns would improve practice. We know that the Go for 2 & 5 campaign actually changed behaviour and increased vegetable consumption. However, this campaign had funding taken away. The Healthier.Happier campaign is not being adequately evaluated or reported on. Only open data will improve practice. We need preventive health measures to urgently receive increased funding and need good data and evaluation to direct the effective spending of that increased funding.

  • Urban Planning improvements: Access to data to assist improved urban planning for healthy active living would be highly beneficial.The ACU Habitat Project - - has collected a large amount of data on people’s behaviour such as walking, cycling and using public transport. But the project doesn’t have the workforce to dive into the data and use it to improve planning. Fostering people to use available data is another important role for Open Data & to find innovative solutions to problems (such as our Obesity epidemic) which would benefit greatly from improved public planning.


I think there are some data that are key that many things relate to:

  • administration boundaries
  • water ways and coastline
  • roads
  • property boundaries
  • school, hospital, library

These core spatial dataset should be released as a building block for other data releases.

Other releases should be driven by:

  • open by default
  • consumer demand