An agency’s information is one of its most valuable assets. The Freedom of Information Act 1982 declares that government information is a national resource that should be managed for public purposes.
Releasing agency information and data (information assets) for reuse by the public can:
- strengthen government transparency
- assist public participation in government processes
- drive innovation and economic growth.
The OAIC Principles on open public sector information support an open government/open data culture, by providing guidance for agencies on how to manage government information assets as a national resource for public purposes.
Agencies must also observe obligations imposed by the Privacy Act 1988 in handling personal information. In particular, the Act requires agencies to take reasonable steps in some circumstances to destroy or de-identify personal information. This is particularly important where information assets that are proposed to be published or shared with others contain personal information. De-identifying that information can maximise the utility and value of the information assets without compromising privacy or confidentiality.