Using government data to improve people's lives - Podcast

Our governments know a lot about us. They hold data on how much we earn, how much tax we pay, our health records, business earnings, even whether we have a fishing license.

As we saw during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, data on the spread of the virus and the pace of the vaccine rollout was vital for keeping us safe and holding our governments to account. Government data is also essential for informed public policy debates, and it’s invaluable for researchers and others who advocate for better public policy.

But a lot of government data in Australia is locked up behind closed doors. And when governments do make data available, it is often published in ways that are difficult to understand and unwieldy for researchers to use.

In this special Grattan Podcast, Grattan data specialist Tyler Reysenbach is joined by Adam Sparks, a Senior Research Scientist with Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Matt Cowgill, Senior Economist at SEEK, to talk about how our governments could get better at data, and how things could be improved in ways that would improve public policy and, ultimately, the lives of all Australians.

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Danielle Wood – CEO