Addressing the complex issues of disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people requires relevant high-quality data. Such data provides the evidence-base for the development, implementation and evaluation of effective policy solutions at local, state/territory and national levels. As the Prime Minister’s 2018 Closing the Gap Report stressed, building an evidence base is key to success. However, the lack of reliable and consistent data for Indigenous Australians results in a paucity of evidence-based Indigenous policy-making.

It is of equal importance that local Indigenous communities are empowered to decide their own local data priorities, inclusive of how their data is utilised and that this is supported and reinforced by our national legal and policy frameworks. This sentiment is echoed in the Empowered Communities Empowered People Design Report which emphasises that better outcomes for Indigenous communities are dependent on the level of autonomy and control that Indigenous people have in the decision-making process.

Key aims:

  • The Indigenous Data Network will assist Indigenous communities in developing the technical capability and resources to enable them to manage their data for community advancement. By strengthening communities’ agency in their data, the network will empower them to make informed decisions about their own development.
  • The first priority for the Network will be to establish a working relationship with AIATSIS and other partners, and develop an overview of the domain, in order to answer basic questions including what are the key organisations that need to be involved, and where are the gaps in available data? How can they be filled?
  • As a Commonwealth Statutory Authority, AIATSIS will play a lead role in data integration and in encouraging the collaboration of Indigenous, governmental and research entities in sharing data.
  • This strategy contains case studies of projects that engage with Indigenous data collection, community priorities and local analysis. These case studies provide important examples of projects that use community consultation, participation and ownership in their data management to achieve better results for Indigenous communities.
  • The Network will bring together community, university, government, non-government and private sector partners to create an ongoing community of practice to address a range of shared concerns, including identifying best practice in community data collection, management and access, and archiving Indigenous datasets and preventing the orphaning of important datasets which would be detrimental to communities.


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