The report of the Victorian Parliament’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee (EDIC) on the Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data was tabled in Parliament on 24 June 2009 (see the report).

The Committee was tasked with inquiring into, considering and reporting to the Victorian Parliament on the potential application of open content and open source licensing models to Victorian Government information.

The Committee made a number of key findings, including that improved access to and utilisation of public sector information (PSI) may result in economic benefits for the Victorian Government through greater efficiency in the allocation of resources and more informed decision-making and policy development processes (Finding 2). It also found that PSI should be priced at no cost or marginal cost (Finding 19) and that access to and reuse of PSI will be best facilitated by applying standardised licences to the PSI in accordance with existing copyright provisions (Findings 8 and 9). Significantly, the Committee found that Creative Commons licences can be appropriately applied to around 85% of PSI (Finding 13), and that issuing attribution-only Creative Commons licences will assist in maintaining the integrity of Victorian Government PSI while ensuring that access and reuse opportunities are maximised (Finding 15).

In the Report, the Committee recommends that the Victorian Government release a public statement indicating that it endorses open access as the default position for the management of its PSI (Recommendation 1). The Committee also recommends that the Victorian Government develop a whole-of-government Information Management Framework (Recommendation 2) and that it adopt the Creative Commons licensing model as the default licensing system for the Information Management Framework (Recommendation 14) with a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials (Recommendation 15). Finally, the Committee recommends that the Victorian Government develop specific guidelines for the pricing of PSI, emphasising the provision of PSI at no cost or marginal cost (Recommendation 16).

The work of Professors Brian and Anne Fitzgerald and their research teams is extensively referenced in the report. Professor Brian Fitzgerald is quoted in relation to open innovation (on page 14) and open content licences (on page 68). Professor Anne Fitzgerald is quoted on page 67 in discussion of the complexities that may arise if copyright is simply removed from government information. They are quoted together (on pages 76 and 77) in relation to the application of Creative Commons licences to PSI.

Victorian Parliament’s EDIC on the Inquiry into Improving Access to Public Sector Information and Data

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