Place-based policy and service delivery using location information and analysis
Business and governments are demanding new opportunities for innovation, efficiency and improved responsiveness: delivery of information and insight to target decision making will be a key success factor. For government, this means information to target policy development, program design, and service delivery. The recent national emergencies – drought, bushfires and COVID-19 – and the longer-term effects on our cities, towns, land and environment have highlighted the important role of location information and analysis in government decision making. These emergencies have also exposed some significant data and capability gaps.
The current and future challenges that we as the APS respond to, require solutions that must be informed by rapidly deployed, data-driven analysis and insights that incorporate location information (also referred to as geospatial or spatial information). Ultimately, government needs timely information for places across Australia to best target investment in communities, to ensure future resilience, and to monitor the benefits and outcomes of response and recovery efforts and other future investments.
Location Inter-Departmental Committee
Improved place-based policy, program and service delivery through strategic coordination and collaboration on location analysis, data and capabilities across the APS.
With the recent national emergencies and the opportunities from better place-based policy, program and service delivery clearly in sight, a group of APS agencies have come together to establish a new Location Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC). Formed through the leadership of Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this Location IDC has the following outcome areas:
- quick response to, and strong preparation for, current and future national emergencies and security issues
- enhanced wellbeing of people in our cities and regions, and sustainable growth in economic activity and job creation across all regions and Indigenous communities
- reduce the cost of doing business – within government, with government, and in the community.
The Location IDC agencies are focused on the following immediate opportunities where the IDC is acting first to gain the greatest impact:
- collaborate to rapidly provide consistent situation assessments
- deliver efficient location-based reporting in emergency response, recovery and resilience
- accurately locate where employment and business activity occurs
- mature location data, infrastructure and analytical capability across the APS
- set strategic direction and be a voice to government on location capabilities and investment.
From an APS Data Profession perspective there are touch points throughout the work of the Location IDC but most significant is the work to mature location analysis capability. This will cover location information skills and knowledge relevant to the broader data analytical community as well as specialist geospatial analyst skills. ABS leads both the APS Data Professional Stream Strategy and the Location IDC initiative to enhance location analytical capabilities across the APS, ensuring the approaches are joined up. This work will also incorporate lessons learnt from recent cross agency collaboration on this topic by the Commonwealth Statistical Geospatial Forum, which is also run the ABS.
Location analysis that will improve place-based policy and services delivery and the outcomes for all Australians, wherever they may be, has a bright future under a cohesive and engaged APS leadership. Look out for the release of an APS Location Information Strategy in the first half of 2021.