All of this information and much, much more is now freely available at the click of a button. AusGov.info is my labour of love and a result of my interest in investigative journalism, transparency and accountability.
The site is the most extensive integration of financial datasets published by the government available in Australia and, as such, constitutes a full time job.
I began this journey by creating the first complete open dataset of the federal budget data with the interface to make it searchable. This allows spending to be totalled across what used to be 20 separate PDF documents. The government incorporated the schema (fields used) in my original dataset into the file they create each year containing all of the budget programs. This means I don’t have to copy and paste thousands of lines of data. Journalist Gareth Hutchens reported on the project’s beginnings on budget day 2013.
Soon I realised that people wanted to know not just about government spending but also about who is or is not contributing to the country’s revenue to fund those programs. Each year the ATO provides a list of ‘top-earning’ companies, their revenue, taxable income and tax paid.
There is even a section on tax concessions and what they cost the budget!
The expertise this work prompted me to acquire meant that when the Pell verdict came down and everyone’s minds turned to the finances and ethics of Australia’s churches, I could identify and write about what was missing from the public charities data.
When researchers from Macquarie uni discovered it might be possible to get at more of our census data than intended by the ABS, my history with open data and privacy meant that I understood the implications of this for the government’s plans to join all our health, education, ATO & Centrelink data together for researchers to search.
Having had a front-row seat to the ‘consultations’ on what the government should do with open data over the past years meant I’ve had my finger on the pulse of government plans since well before the now infamous 2016 census.
Please check out my other articles showing who is giving what to our politicians and if you thin this work is worth getting behind, please consider becoming a regular patron via Patreon or give an occasional donation to support my work direct to my bank account.
These donations are the only financial support I have for the very extensive work that I undertake and I’m just getting started. Please help make sure I can continue improving transparency and accountability for all Australians.
Account Name: Rose Williams
Bank: St George
Account number: 485 746 256