Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Government Discovers Web 2.0

As I started writing this post, I listened to a short video featuring Lindsay Tanner and Nicholas Gruen. Mr Tanner is the Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Deregulation, but also has a strong government role in information management and IT. Dr Gruen is the head of the recently announced Government 2.0 Taskforce.

One might be cynical and say that just when a term starts to lose what little meaning it had through over-use, government discovers it. But in fact the new initiative is impressive and worthwhile - a second life for government blogging, too. The taskforce is interesting, and not just as an example of a runtogether. It has a large and diverse membership - 15 of them. They include strong advocates of open public sector information and open licensing too - Brian Fitzgerald, for example. The taskforce has one of the rare domain names outside the circle of wagons. There is a blog, on the front page, and the members of the taskforce have been taking it in turns to blog. Well worth a look, and more - there are good opportunities to participate.

In fact, the Taskforce has just published Towards Government 2.0: an Issues Paper and invites comments before 24 August. You can comment in many ways, and the process is pretty open - worth following. Government 2.0 sits in AGIMO (the Australian Government Information Management Office), which sits under the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.

Meanwhile, over in the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the consultation on the future of Australia's digital economy has led to a final report on the process, Australia's Digital Economy: Final Report, published online on 14 July.

And finally, a very interesting report from the Victorian Parliament. This is the Final Report of the Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, issued by the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee on 24 June. It is issued as a Victorian parliamentary paper, and is a remarkably comprehensive summary of where we are with public sector information. Its recommendations are far-reaching and if implemented, would set an admirable benchmark for openness of government information.

Encouraging developments, each of them in its own way. I'll read them and get back to you.