On 21 September 2021, ORIC published its first data set on data.gov.au, the Australian Government hub for sharing data. This page provides context for that move.
Why open data?
Since 2015 the Australian Government's public data policy (PDF) requires all government agencies to make non-sensitive data open by default. Open data means that government agencies can work together toward common goals such as Closing the Gap, and researchers and analysts are free to pursue their interests and gain insights without relying on government officials to supply the information they seek. It also frees up staff time in processing requests.
Section 658-1(h) of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Corporations Act 2006 (CATSI Act) states that one of the registrar's functions is 'to conduct research in relation to matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations'. ORIC serves this research purpose by various means. We:
- publish occasional research reports into various aspects of the sector
- publish regular Top 500 reports, about the highest income-earning corporations
- publish statistical reports about complaints involving corporations and corporations under external administration
- negotiate MoUs with various agencies that enable them to undertake research
- from time to time, support external parties' research projects
- respond favourably to many requests to extract specific data from the Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations, if the request accords with the registrar's legislated functions.
Openly publishing a data set via data.gov.au means that many more people are able to use ORIC data to conduct research, to combine our data with that from other sources, to embark on innovative collaborative research and potentially, to generate new insights into the sector.
What's in ORIC's data set?
Principles we follow in determining what goes in to the public data set include:
- De-identify people—but retain the title (Mr / Mrs / Ms / Dr / etc) for directors as an imperfect way to capture gender representation
- Respect corporation sensitivities—financial information is not exact but provided by category
- Avoid feeding spammers—no address or other contact information
Initially, we have published just one data set, and aim to update it monthly. Over time we will monitor uptake and listen to feedback, and in response we might change the amount of data we share, or the way we share it.