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NSW whole-of-government agreement with the CSIRO’s Data61

Who is Data61?

CSIRO’s Data61 is Australia’s largest data innovation organisation and has a track record in providing effective solutions to complex government problems. Thanks to a three-year agreement, NSW Government agencies can easily engage Data61 to help solve challenges, find efficiencies and innovate.

An applied R&D partner, Data61 can draw on deep capability in a range of data-focused disciplines to scope and develop new solutions to challenging problems, or support future-focused decision making. Capabilities include:

  • Data visualisation
  • Predictive analytics and simulation
  • AI and machine learning
  • Robotics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data privacy and confidentiality

Data61 has more than 1100 employees, 30 university partners and 124 Corporate Partners.

To hear about how Data61 is already working with government and how you can access the nation’s best data scientists and engineers, watch the video below.

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What is the NSW whole-of-government agreement?

The NSW Government has established a whole-of-government agreement with Data61 committing to undertake projects over three-years. The agreement is in place until 31 December 2019.

As well as access to world leading data science; the benefits for agencies commissioning Data61 through the whole-of-government agreement include: pre-prepared contractual arrangements, support for project delivery, opportunities for strategic integration and value for money. 

Agencies will need to cover the costs of their engagements.

The in-scope capabilities under the agreement are:

  • Decision sciences: developing, and providing guidance for the use of, tools and technologies to extract and analyse information from data 
  • Analytics: developing and providing training for the use of tools, platforms and models for analytics 
  • Software and computational systems: providing data management, analytics and computation platforms, assisting with decentralised data ownership, strengthening cybersecurity, assisting 'big data' to be shared and integrated and developing systems which ensure that the data used in decision making can be trusted 
  • Cyber physical systems: connecting digital devices to the physical environment 
  • Engineering and user experience design: providing informed digital design solutions 
  • Strategic insight: providing scenario planning, horizon scanning, technology road-mapping, megatrends analysis, risk analysis, decision theory, strategic planning, statistical forecasting and systems modelling 
  • All of NSW Government: supplying services and projects relating to the capabilities above to any Government Agencies 

Case studies

Case study 1: NSW Digital Twin

Delivering a ‘digital twin’ to enable data-driven planning, services and decision-making

CSIRO’s Data61 and DFSI’s Spatial Services are collaborating to build a real world ‘digital twin’ prototype of Western Sydney. capabilities under the

Our cities and communities have never been as data rich as they are today. However, analysing and making sense of complex datasets can be difficult and time-consuming, even for domain experts.

A ‘digital twin’ is a virtual model of our cities that enables the conversion of high volumes of data into valuable insights that help to inform decisions about how we design, plan and manage our cities.

By integrating data sets from across NSW Government such as live transport data, infrastructure both above and below ground, building information models (BIMs), and cadastral data (e.g. land parcels), the platform will help to enable integrated city planning.

The NSW Government’s State Infrastructure Strategy 2018 recommended that the NSW Government upgrade its spatial data from 2D to real time 3D and 3D (3D + time). The creation of the Digital Twin is the first step in making this a reality.

Data61 expertise

Data61 is leveraging its deep strength in mapping and visualising data in 3D and 4D (3D + time) data to build nationally significant infrastructure that will maximise the benefits for industry, the community and government alike.

The project is built using Data61’s TerriaJS™ platform and is pushing boundaries and exploring the most innovative ways to map and visualise geospatial data so that it becomes a powerful decision-support tool.

Data61 is also running user needs (UX research) workshops with government and non-government stakeholders to ensure that the design of the prototype developed with user needs front of mind.  

Benefits for NSW  

Policy-makers: A digital twin has the potential radically change the way planning, decision-making and services are provided by governments – national, state and local – to the people of NSW. The platform enables users to overlay of various data sets to enable better informed, data-driven decisions for policy-makers, including in environmental regulation, emergency services management, transport services, infrastructure planning and cadastre management.

Private sector: Digital Twins will also enable more innovation, efficiencies and better decisions within the private sector – for example, by developers and infrastructure owners and operators. Companies that use Building Information Models (BIMs), for example, could visualise their BIMs in the Digital Twin.

Community: A better planned and managed city will benefit the people of NSW. Data61 is committed to building technology that helps to make our cities and communities more liveable.

Case study 2: NSW DoI Water – Water Sharing Plan Public Interface

Making water and water licence data open to all to encourage smarter water usage

Data61 and NSW DoI Water have collaborated to explore ways that water data can be best shared and communicated to the public and land users.

This collaboration included a design focused user needs workshop and design sprint to explore ways that a publicly available data visualisation platform could enhance water use compliance and information sharing. DoI Water’s key objective is to improve water use compliance and provide water trading assistance and services to licence holders.

To date, Phase 1 and 2 and part of Phase 3 of the project have been delivered. Due to the shift in needs identified through the discovery phase, Data61 and DoI Water contracted a third party ‘OpenBoard’ platform to manage the dashboard aspects of the requirements. The result is the early stages of a data visualisation prototype.

The next stage of the project is currently being scoped. DoI Water presented the prototype to executive stakeholders and agreed on new requirements moving forward, including completion of a live data feed and use cases of the regulated, unregulated and groundwater data sets.

Data61 capabilities

Data61 has been a partner with DoI Water on this journey, which commenced with a Data61 user needs workshop, moved into design sprints and then towards development of a PoC tool (provided by a third party in this case).

This work has provided both DPI and Data61 with valuable insight, and a strong foundational work base for ongoing development, especially around data extraction and ‘Regtech’ or ‘compliance automation’ to support the project’s objectives.

Data61 is currently investigating new options for extracting data from water sharing plans, licenses and rules. These new methods could enable the automatic transformation of the data from these pdf documents into machine readable form for application in DoI’s platform.

Benefits for NSW

Managing water resources is of vital importance to NSW. It affects farmers and their communities, and it affects our environment. It is in the interests of all of the community that we get water management right.

An open data visualisation platform will help to encourage trading of water between landholders and will also help to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements that apply to the use of water.

Case study 3: DAC – Confidential Computing and Software Architecture

Obtaining richer insights from data while preserving privacy and security obligations

Data61 has partnered with the NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) to incorporate key Data61 technologies for privacy and security as part of the DAC’s development of a high performing, replicable and reliable data analytics infrastructure.

Access to data is a key requirement for effective policy and service design for government. However, it is important to design privacy principles into data access methods to ensure that data is only accessed by the right people in the right way and minimises the risk of data disclosures or data breaches.

In partnership with the NSW DAC, these capabilities were successfully installed, configured and linked to demonstration datasets within the DAC’s infrastructure and evaluated for further use by the NSW government.

Data61 expertise

Data61 works with governments across Australia to build tools and platforms that allow safe analysis of data, protecting data throughout the analysis process so that it all the benefits of data driven government can be delivered, without the risks involved in too broad access to sensitive or personal data.

In this work we delivered three key capabilities to the NSW DAC to demonstrate how the range of data made available for analysis could be expanded without increasing the risk of disclosure or privacy breaches. These capabilities are engineered solutions built on years of research and development in Data61 in the area of privacy preserving data analytics.

The capabilities demonstrated were:

Benefits for NSW 

These technologies will allow many more analysts within government to craft custom queries against sensitive datasets, as they provide mathematical guarantee that those analysts cannot misuse the results to identify individuals within the dataset. This means that more use can be made of sensitive data, more efficiently.

These technologies also allow the range of data that may be accessed safely to be expanded greatly. For instance, public-private partnerships can be established where the data held by each participant remains confidential, and only the important insights are extracted.

Want to know more?

Discuss your potential project with us by emailing (we manage the agreement). Or you can email the Data61 Government and Stakeholder Relationships team at



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