New WA research platform links government records in massive database

Western Australia has linked some 75 million current and historical government records to form a new research platform.

Professor Peter Klinken

The PeopleWA platform, launched by the state government on Wednesday, connects de-identified data from the departments of Communities, Education, Health, Justice and the police.

Digital economy minister Steve Dawson says the platform will streamline data and information across government services, and provide an e-research resource for government agencies, researchers and not-for-profits.

Describing the volume of data linked on the platform as “incredible”, he said PeopleWA would deliver huge benefits.

“This data will allow the state government, researchers and non-profit organisations to make better informed policy and strategy decisions,” the minister said in a statement.

“This linkage allows us to gain insights across government departments that were previously difficult to access and uncover.”

It will also make for evidence-based decision making by the government and improve service deliver, WA Chief Information Officer Greg Italiano said.

Limited access

Access to the data must be approved and is provided via a secure and monitored platform.

The Office of Digital Government and the health department will be responsible for governance of the data, with new datasets added each year to meet changing policy and research needs, the government says.

The platform comes in response  to a data linkage review led by  WA’s Chief Professor Peter Klinken, who says the development sets the stage for the state’s next chapter of data linkage.

“Western Australia has a long history of data linkage, and PeopleWA will help enhance community outcomes by placing data at the forefront of the decision-making and research,” Professor Klinken said.

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