Announced by Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, in the post Release of data.gov.au on AGIMO's blog, Minister Gray said that,
...The release of public sector information in the form of datasets allows the commercial, research and community sectors to add value to government data in new, innovative and exciting ways.
Data.gov.au plays a crucial role in realising the Australian Government’s commitment to informing, engaging and participating with the public, as expressed in its Declaration of Open Government and Freedom of Information (FoI) reforms.
The new site currently lists around 200 datasets and links to other Government data catalogues such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Spatial Data Directory and the Queensland Government Information Service plus many other government data sites.
It includes tools to allow the public to suggest datasets they'd like released, to rate and comment on all datasets within the site, provide feedback and improvement suggestions and submit mashups or other data-based initiatives.
There's also a showcase of mashups and prominent Australian Government data-based initiatives.
Government agencies may submit datasets online and AGIMO has provided support for hosting datasets in a cloud-based storage solution if they're unable to host them effectively in their own sites.
It is quite an impressive site. AGIMO has clearly been listening to the community and building on the experiences of other government data sites around the world.
It will be interesting to see how rapidly the number of datasets grows and the innovative uses people put them to, developing services and new insights to support citizens, create value and drive public policy initiatives.
Below is a list of other government data sites around the world sourced from Govloop (built using Socrata) as a comparison.