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Showcase: improve your knowledge about the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP)

Edition: 1

This article provides an overview of MADIP, a case study of how it has been used by researchers to inform decision making, an update on what’s new with MADIP (including links to new training modules), who can access MADIP, and where you can get more information.

MADIP is a secure data asset that combines information on health, education, government payments, income and taxation, employment, and population demographics (including the Census) to provide whole-of-life insights about various population groups in Australia. For example, it can look at the interactions between use of services like healthcare and education, and outcomes like improved health and employment.

Information in MADIP is combined by linking person-level datasets to a central linking infrastructure, or ‘Person Linkage Spine’ that represents the ‘ever-resident’ population of Australia. The Spine used to create the MADIP asset is made up of the Medicare Consumer Directory, Personal Income Tax data and DOMINO Centrelink Administrative Data.

MADIP is used by approved researchers to better understand changes and patterns in the Australian population and environment over time. At the end of September 2020, there were 289 researchers accessing MADIP across 79 projects. Some examples of how MADIP is currently being used include to:

  • analyse how the background characteristics and living conditions of vulnerable groups relate to their use of welfare and medical services to design and target these services more effectively
  • analyse how family background and different educational choices influence post-school education and employment outcomes for students.

MADIP is managed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in partnership with other Australian Government agencies including the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Education Skills and Employment, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services and Services Australia. Other data custodians include the Department of Home Affairs and the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Case Study - Helping vulnerable Australians survive heatwaves

This study led by the Bureau of Meteorology used custom MADIP data containing demographic characteristics and deaths information, as well as indicators of chronic disease to improve understanding of Australians that are most at risk in heatwave conditions.

The project built a national map of heat health vulnerability with various insights, including:

  • approximately 2% of deaths are attributable to heatwaves each year
  • contemporary housing, as measured by factors such as building age and building construction type, has a stronger association with heat related deaths than housing from other periods
  • large rural towns have the highest elevated risk for heatwave deaths.

These findings have provided an evidence base to support the development of better government services to help vulnerable Australians survive future heatwaves, including local interventions such as forecast warning systems. The project has built interest and confidence in the analysis of MADIP data which could be applied to understanding the impact of other natural hazards in future.

You can find the full case study on the ABS website at Case Study - Helping vulnerable Australians survive heatwaves.

What’s new?

1. Integrated business and person data - New opportunity

Recently the ABS has enabled the integration of some Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) datasets with information about employer characteristics to employee data in MADIP over time. The broader integration of longitudinal business and person data will be valuable for analysis and research and will be examined further with a future Privacy Impact Assessment.

2. Person Linkage Spine - Upcoming refresh

The Person Linkage Spine is central to our data linking methods in MADIP. Instead of linking datasets one-to-one for individual projects, we can link all datasets to the Spine and then combine datasets via the Spine as needed for multiple projects. The Spine enables more efficient and higher quality linkage. By keeping the Spine separate from the main body of the data, we improve privacy and security.

The Spine aims to cover all people who were resident in Australia at any point during a given reference period. The current Spine covers January 2006 to June 2019.

The Person Linkage Spine is due to be refreshed to include data up to June 2020 by early 2021.

3. MADIP Modular Product - Upcoming refresh

The MADIP Modular Product is a standard detailed microdata product which is available for access via the ABS DataLab for approved projects. It includes key demographic, social, healthcare, education, government payment and income information for the ‘ever-resident’ Australian population over the period 2011-2016.

By early 2021, the MADIP Modular Product is planned to be refreshed with data through to the 2019 reference period, based on the June 2019 spine. Data from the Medicare Benefits Schedule, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and DOMINO Centrelink Administrative Data will be updated to June 2020.

4. MADIP Training Modules

Training materials for new researchers have been developed by the ABS to support researcher understanding of MADIP. An introductory MADIP video has been developed by the ABS and is available via a direct YouTube.

A MADIP Manual and User guide are also now available for new researchers providing further broad level technical details, and can be provided on request via email data.services [at] abs.gov.au

Who can access MADIP and how to access

Standard detailed microdata (including the MADIP Modular) are available to approved government and non-government users for approved projects.

Custom MADIP detailed microdata are available to these types of users:

  • government employees
  • government contractors and individuals sponsored by government
  • academics
  • researchers from public policy research institutes.

The ABS uses the Five Safes Framework to ensure safe and secure data access for projects that benefit the public.

The ABS is committed to protecting the confidentiality of personal information and is bound by legislation to ensure the privacy of information is maintained. With stringent processes in place to protect individuals’ privacy, MADIP never includes names, addresses, dates of birth, or information that is likely to identify an individual.

For further information about access to MADIP, see the Data Integration Access and Services page on the ABS website.

Where to find out more about MADIP?

For more detailed information about MADIP, see the Data Integration pages on the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au or direct via www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Statistical+Data+Integration.

For inquiries about MADIP, please email data.services [at] abs.gov.au