Yesterday the Australian government announced its new MashupAustralia competition, with a prize fund of over $20,000 Australian dollars:

Today the Government 2.0 Taskforce is launching its MashupAustralia contest […]. To fuel your innovative mashup juices, around 59 datasets from the Australian and State and Territory Governments have been released at on license terms and in formats that permit and enable mashup. The contest will begin accepting entries next week on 7 October 2009 and close on 6 November 2009.

Like the UK’s Show Us A Better Way competition and the USA’s Apps for Democracy competition – MashupAustralia aims to catalyse innovative re-uses of Australian Public Sector Information (PSI), as well as to demonstrate the potential of opening up access to government data.

The datasets come from across the government:

Over 15 Australian Government agencies have released data as diverse as Australian Federal Electoral Boundaries, Location of Centrelink Offices and World Heritage Areas in Australia. Through the Online Communications Council’s Digital Economy Group, State and Territory Governments have released datasets such as Surface Water Gauging Stations Queensland, South Australian Boat Ramp Locator and ACT – Barbecue (BBQ) Locations. There are cultural collections and plenty of quirky datasets too!

A full list of datasets can be found at:

  • We’ve created a CKAN package page for this at:

Most datasets are available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Cameron Neylon commented on the competition home page raising the issue of whether CC-BY (predominantly designed for copyrightable content) is an appropriate license for the datasets, as opposed to legal tools specifically designed for data, such as the PDDL, the ODbL or CC0 – sparking off a discussion with competition organiser and ex-Creative Commons counsel, Mia Garlick.

Its great to see this kind of support for open government data from the Australian government – and we very much look forward to seeing the entries when the competition opens next week!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.

1 thought on “Australian government releases open data for MashupAustralia competition”

  1. It’s encouraging to see even a small spark of openness coming from the Australian Government.

    It was pressure from the Australian Government that caused the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Agency (formerly the Defense Mapping Agency) to terminate public access to the DAFIF database of worldwide airport data.

    Let’s hope this marks a permanent change of direction.

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