If you want to link Australian Government data, you must use an integrating authority.

The AIHW is an international leader in data linkage (also called data integration), and is one of only three accredited integrating authorities in Australia. This means we have met stringent criteria covering project governance, capability and data management. We can integrate Australian data for high-risk research projects because we uphold strict privacy and confidentiality requirements.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act enables us to provide researchers with secure access to data and information about vital health and welfare topics.

All governments in Australia agree that, while protecting privacy, data should be more freely available so it is more widely, efficiently and innovatively used. Australia’s rich data sources offer great potential to gain greater insights into health and welfare issues, to improve and save lives.

As an integrating authority the AIHW is responsible for ensuring that data for each research project is managed and governed soundly. This includes complying with the Privacy Act 1988 and ensuring data is secure.

The AIHW abides by the principles for data integration involving Australian Government data for statistical and research purposes, and the best practice guidelines

We are also a member of the Population Health Research Network, an Australian Government collaboration that has built a nationwide data linkage infrastructure capable of securely and safely managing health information from around Australia. This includes Australian Government and state and territory government data.

Ensuring security through the Data Integration Services Centre

The AIHW performs data linkage through its Data Integration Services Centre, a physically secure area that is only accessed by authorised, specialist staff.

Within the Data Integration Services Centre, all data integration projects are conducted on a separate secure network.

Once the data has been linked, researchers can access it:

  • in Canberra through our secure data lab
  • through a remote access computing environment (the Secure Unified Research Environment, or SURE, managed by the Sax Institute).

The Data Integration Services Centre is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Education Investment Fund Super Science Initiative, National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme.