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The Australian Government's Declaration of Open Government in July 2010 affirmed its commitment to open government through the provision of accessible and reusable government information.

On this page you will find information about:

Publically available data

Open Government data

  • data.gov.au provides an easy way to find, access and reuse public datasets from the Australian Government.

Social security payment data

Datasets relating to social security payments as paid by the Department of Human Services via Centrelink include:

  • Federal electorate level data (pre March 2014). Social Security Payment Statistics by Federal Electorate boundaries, prior to March 2014.
  • Federal electorate level data (post March 2014). Social Security Payment Statistics by Federal Electorate boundaries, post March 2014.
  • Customer population data. Published statistical information includes customer population data for key payments, with a pre-defined drill-down available for relevant demographic (e.g. gender, age) and geographic (e.g. national, state/territory) characteristics.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data

AIHW data provides details on the available formats of AIHW data and information.

You can browse data by subject or search a catalogue of holdings (currently being updated).

Health data

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data

The Statistics section of the ABS website gives you access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information. You can browse data by topics such as:

State and Territory data

Your State or Territory Health Department may also have data for public use—please check their website:

Legislation and agreements that govern the release of data

The decision to release data is governed by legislation and contractual agreements between agencies.

Examples of relevant legislation include:

The Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Health (Health), Department of Social Security (DSS), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) are working collaboratively to support the research community in the provision of information that can assist with better health and welfare research outcomes.

Data access and release policy

Consistent with the whole of government approach to making government information publically available, the Department of Health's Data Access and Release Policy encourages the release of data to support research, consumer information and policy decisions, while meeting its legal and contractual obligations to respect privacy, recognise intellectual property and manage risks.

Ad-hoc statistical data

Where statistical information is not available publically, you may request ad-hoc statistical reporting. This level of reporting allows access to reports and information at a statistical aggregate level and focusses on specific counts, i.e. payment population by state by age.

All ad-hoc requests are assessed against legislation and privacy principles and bilateral agreements with partner policy agencies, to determine if the information can be lawfully disclosed for a secondary purpose.

Release considerations include:

  • Purpose—a specific research question or public benefit defined outcome has been identified which can reasonably be expected to support improvement of the health or well-being of Australians.
  • Anonymity—anonymity checks are required before the provision of information is approved and again before the information is provided, to ensure data cannot identify an individual or entity where consent is not given (see below).
  • Consent—identified and identifiable information can only be provided with the valid consent of the identified people/entities. For consent to be valid it must be free, informed, competent and current.
  • Secrecy provisions—requests can only be approved if information can be released in accordance with relevant secrecy provisions, in line with the relevant legislation.
  • Privacy—the release of data meets the purpose for which it was collected.

Charges may be levied to cover the costs of ad-hoc statistical data preparation.

Who do I contact to discuss an ad-hoc data request?

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

For further information see the AIHW's custom data request service.

Department of Health

Enquiries about access to data can be made via email to statistics@health.gov.au.

Department of Human Services

For further information and/or requests for data via DHS please email statistics@humanservices.gov.au.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Telephone the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email client.services@abs.gov.au  

Data linkage

Data linkage brings together information from different sources in order to create a new, richer dataset that can tell a bigger story. It is cost-effective as it involves the re-use of existing data sets.

Data linkage involves identifying and combining information from corresponding records on each of the different datasets. The product is a consolidated record made up of some data from each of the different datasets.

Where linkage of data utilises Commonwealth data (e.g. Department of Human Services, Department of Social Security and/or Department of Health data) there are strict requirements for the collection and release of linked data. The Commonwealth data integration principles require an accredited Integrating Authority (IA) to perform the linkages, if the data steward considers a project to be high risk. The IA is accountable for the implementation of a data integration project. The IA must ensure that risks have been assessed, managed and mitigated throughout the duration of the project, in line with the agreed requirements of data custodians.

Who do I contact to discuss a data linkage project?

For requests that will utilise the linkage of Commonwealth data, the AIHW Data Integration Services Centre () can provide initial advice, help designing your research project and getting it approved, and a cost estimate. There are currently two other accredited Integrating Authorities; the Australian Bureau of Statistics (client.services@abs.gov.au) and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (datamanager@aifs.gov.au).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

For further information and/or requests for the AIHW, please email or download the AIHW data linkage services brochure (2MB PDF).

Department of Health

To access Commonwealth health data for data integration purposes, researchers should first contact the department via email at statistics@health.gov.au for guidance through the approvals process.

Department of Human Services

For further information and/or requests for data linkage via DHS please email statistics@humanservices.gov.au.

Department of Social Services

For further information and/or requests for data via DSS please email data.requests@dss.gov.au.

See the National Statistical Service (NSS) website for further information.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Contact dataintegration@abs.gov.au or refer to Further information about ABS Integrating Authority Services.

Further information

For more information, see Statistical Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data.