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The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) has officially held our first virtual meeting of the Data Champions Network. We had a record turnout with over 60 people dialling in from across Federal, State and Local Government.

What is the Data Champions Network?

The Data Champions Network was established by the Department of Customer Service in 2018 as a way to bring together data experts and enthusiasts from across all levels of government.

We meet quarterly so champions have an opportunity to find out what’s happening in the world of data across government, speak about their own data activities, and most importantly, network! The Data Champions Network provides a way to foster knowledge sharing, facilitate access to expertise, and build a sense of community among our champions.

What did the meeting consist of?

Tony Bertoia (Principal Policy Officer at the Data Analytics Centre) kicked the meeting off with an update on some key whole-of-government data projects that have taken place over the past few months. From the development of the NSW Data Governance Toolkit; to updates on several State Infrastructure Strategy recommendations including the Infrastructure Data Management Framework, the NSW Spatial Digital Twin, and the IoT Policy; there have certainly been many developments since the Network met last December.

Tony’s update was followed by a presentation from Sydney Water on the approach their agency has taken to implementing data governance. Juanita Hoare (Data Standards Manager at Sydney Water), opened the presentation with an entertaining summary of real-world examples of ‘Big Data Governance Fails’ and then went on to share some of the unique ways Sydney Water is embedding data governance in non-invasive ways, such as using the same asset management strategies they use to manage physical assets (water), to manage data assets.

Andrew Woods (Strategic Analytics Manager at Sydney Water) then took us through some of the successes that Sydney Water is having from embedding good data governance practices. Andrew provided an overview of a recent Water End Use Study which examined end use activities (e.g., showers, outdoor usage) as determined by water flow characteristics. One interesting finding from the study was that households with efficient shower heads have longer showers but still use less water than those with inefficient showerheads.

The next guest speaker, Lachlan Rudd (Director of Data Analysis at eHealth) gave an engaging presentation on NSW Health’s Data Lake Proof of Concept (PoC). The PoC, which concluded last October, aims to pull health data from across the state into a single secure state-wide data lake. Considering that NSW Health is the largest health system globally (in terms of the number of sites), and the fact that data models and ICT systems vary considerably across these sites, this is no easy feat.  Lachlan explained that the intended outcome of this data lake is to enable rapid development of new data extracts, allowing greater agility in data-driven improvements to patient care.

The meeting concluded with a quick wrap-up and Tony Bertoia closed the event by thanking attendees and encouraging champions to continue to engage with each other using the data.nsw forum.

Joining the Data Champions Network

Are you a public servant interested in participating in engaging and interactive discussions about data? Then get in touch with us at and join our network! Be part of a community that promotes the sharing of knowledge through stimulating discussions with our passionate data experts and enthusiasts. Or follow us on Twitter for information about public data events!