The NSW State Emergency Service and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment launched the NSW Flood Data Portal in late 2017, which aims to improve the sharing of key flood data within government and with stakeholders.
In September 2017 the NSW Flood Data Access Program was launched. This was a partnership between the NSW State Emergency Service and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage with two main initiatives, the NSW Flood Data Portal, and the NSW Flood Database.
It is a requirement that projects funded under the NSW Flood Management Program are uploaded to the Portal. The NSW Flood Data Portal aims to improve the sharing of key flood data within government and with other stakeholders so that this information is more broadly available to be considered in decision-making. Data contained in the NSW Flood Data Portal is entered by each Local Council at the completion of floodplain risk management studies undertaken in their area. This data is then made available to government and other stakeholders via the portal. Reports and data can also be uploaded by councils, consultants and state government agencies. Some datasets are available to the public and the Flood Data Portal is linked with Data.NSW so its data is accessible on the Data.NSW portal.
The NSW Flood Database aims to aggregate information on flood risk at both local and state government levels. It provides a strategic understanding of flood risk, enabling more informed and effective flood risk and emergency response management at local, regional and state government scales. The Database is scheduled for development in 2021.
Open Data is an important aspect of Open Government that provides the public with access to information in a variety of formats. The new availability and sharing of state-wide flood data is an example of the benefits of Open Data and the impact it can have on communities. Increasing the amount of government data that is available improves transparency and accountability within government, supports evidence-based policy development and provides a platform for innovation.
The Information Commissioner encourages the proactive public release of government information by agencies in ways that are respectful of data sharing safeguards, as well as providing information, advice and assistance to agencies and members of the public on access to government information.