About the Open Data 500 Australia

The Open Data 500 Australia is part of the Commonwealth of Australia's Open Data initiative, and is the first comprehensive study of Australian companies and NGOs that use open government data to generate new business, develop new products and services or create social value. Open Data is free, public data that can be used, reused and redistributed to launch commercial and nonprofit ventures, conduct research, make data-driven decisions, and solve complex problems.

Study Objectives

  • Provide a basis for assessing the economic value of government open data
  • Encourage the development of new open data companies
  • Foster a dialogue between government and business on how government data can be made more useful


The Australian Open Data 500 Project is a study of Australian companies that use open government data. The project is being undertaken in collaboration between the GovLab, a team of researchers at New York University, and the Australian Government Department of Communications. This collaboration will produce a landmark study of the Australian experience and meets the Australian Government’s open data policy commitments on greater consultation with the private sector on open data.

Company Identification

The Open Data 500 Australia team will compile the list of companies and NGOs through (1) outreach campaigns, (2) advice from experts and professional organizations, and (3) additional research. The results of the study will culminate in an online platform at www.opendata500.com/au, which will highlight the companies and their use of open government data in Australia.

What The Study Is Not

The Open Data 500 Australia is not a rating or ranking of companies. It covers companies of different sizes and categories, using various kinds of data. The Open Data 500 Australia is not a competition, but an attempt to give a broad, inclusive view of the field. The study also does not provide a random sample for definitive statistical analysis. Since this is the first thorough scan of companies in the field, it is not yet possible to determine the exact landscape of open data companies.

About the Open Data Policy

The Australian Government is committed to making more government data, particularly high-value data, openly available to the public and business. The key goal of the policy is to enable Australians to use and re-use the data in innovative ways that stimulate economic growth.

The Australian Open Data 500 Project will create new case studies on how companies are using public sector open data and the benefits this provides to their business.


Data Policy Team at the Australian Government Department of Communications

Helen Owens

Head of Data Policy,
Commonwealth Department of Communications

Tim Neal

Director of Data Access Policy,
Commonwealth Department of Communications

Naomi Perdomo

Policy Advisor,
Commonwealth Department of Communications

Helen Owens

Helen Owens is the head of the Data Policy Branch in the Commonwealth Department of Communications.  She is responsible for providing advice to the Minister for Communications on the policy settings necessary to maximise the benefits arising from the use of spatial and open data, and the exploitation of big data analytics in Government.

Helen previously worked at the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism as the General Manager of the Office of Spatial Policy, and spent three years as the Director of the Office of the Capability Coordinator for Geospatial Information at the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation.  In this role she was responsible for strategic geospatial capability planning and leading the development of Defence spatial concepts, policy and doctrine across the Defence portfolio.

A graduate of Monash University with a Bachelor of Business, Helen is a business specialist with significant private and public sector experience in strategic and business planning, spatial capabilities, information management, human resource management and corporate services.

Tim Neal

Tim Neal is the Director of Data Access Policy in the Commonwealth Department of Communications. He is responsible for providing strategic data capability and infrastructure advice to Government; specifically policy leadership, programme management and concept development across spatial policy, open data, big data and data analytics.

In this role he is the lead on the Australian Open Data 500, NationalMap, Open Data Network, Data Driven Innovation, the Commonwealth Data Efficiency, and the FIND projects; the Commonwealth Sponsor of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework Geocoded Addressing Theme; and the manager of international data standards engagement for the Commonwealth Government.

Tim previously worked in Commonwealth Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism as the Director of Capability and Standards in the Office of Spatial Policy and spent seven years in a variety of roles in the Department of Defence. In both roles he was responsible for a range of operations and projects that covered national security, Defence and foundation data. 

Tim is a graduate of the University of Queensland with a Masters and Bachelor Degree in Political Science.

Naomi Perdomo

Naomi Perdomo is a Policy Advisor on data in the Commonwealth Department of Communications. Since joining the Australian Public Service, she has contributed to a number of significant policy projects, including developing legislation to increase protections for children online. Naomi has coauthored a paper on best practice policy development, comparing academic theory with recent public policy case studies, and co-founded the departmental High Value Open Data Initiative. Naomi previously worked as a Legal Officer, predominately focussing on commercial and property law matters.

Naomi holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce, with a major in Banking and Finance, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Greg Pugh

Senior Policy Advisor,
Commonwealth Department of Communications

Sacha Isaac

Stakeholder Engagement Officer,
Commonwealth Department of Communications

Greg Pugh

Greg Pugh is a Senior Policy Advisor currently working on consumer access issues in the Department of Communications.

Greg has been in the Australian Public Service for four years in a range of different policy areas, including the development of policy relevant to the rollout of the National Broadband Network and the telecommunications industry more generally. This included the implementation of the optional battery backup deployment model and the transition of legacy alarm services from copper to fibre networks. He has also been involved in the running of a Data Driven Innovation project with other government agencies and industry partners.

More recently, Greg’s work has focussed on the development of a series of discussion papers that will form the basis of a consumer safeguards policy applicable across all communications sectors.

Greg is an admitted lawyer, holding a postgraduate degree in legal practice and undergraduate degrees in law and communications from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Sacha Isaac

Sacha Isaac is a Stakeholder Engagement Officer, working directly to the head of the Data Policy Branch in the Commonwealth Department of Communications.

In this role, Sacha has the lead on building and maintaining productive alliances and professional relationships within the Communications portfolio, across the spatial, open and big data policy agendas.

Sacha has extensive experience in telecommunications policy, including being part of a small team tasked with developing and implementing the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme, an initiative to extend mobile phone coverage and competition in regional Australia. In previous roles, Sacha was the Assistant Director of a team that supported an external committee conducting the Australian Government’s legislated 2011–12 Regional Telecommunications Review.

Sacha holds a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce, with a major in Marketing from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The GovLab

Beth Simone Noveck

Founder & Director,
The GovLab

Stefaan Verhulst

Co-Founder and Chief of Research and Development, The GovLab; Director of GovLab's Open Data Project

Andrew Young

Knowledge Director

Beth Simone Noveck

Beth Simone Noveck directs The Governance Lab and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Google.org, the GovLab strives to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern. The GovLab designs and tests technology, policy and strategies for fostering more open and collaborative approaches to strengthen the ability of people and institutions to work together to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves more effectively and legitimately.

The Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab, Beth is a professor of law at New York Law School. She served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative (2009-2011). UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government, and she served on the Obama-Biden transition team. Among projects she’s designed or collaborated on are Unchat, The Do Tank, Peer To Patent, Data.gov, Challenge.gov and the Gov Lab’s Living Labs and training platform, The Academy.

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she serves on the Global Commission on Internet Governance and chairs the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multi-Stakeholder Innovation. She was named one of the “Foreign Policy 100″ by Foreign Policy, one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post. She has also been honored by both the National Democratic Institute and Public Knowledge for her work in civic technology.

Beth is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful, which has also appeared in Arabic, Russian, Chinese and in an audio edition, and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds. Her next book The Networked State will appear with Harvard University Press. She tweets @bethnoveck.

Stefaan G. Verhulst

Stefaan G. Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory @NYU (GovLab) where he is responsible for building a research foundation on how to transform governance using advances in science and technology.

Verhulst’s latest scholarship centers on how technology can improve people’s lives and the creation of more effective and collaborative forms of governance. Specifically, he is interested in the perils and promise of collaborative technologies and how to harness the unprecedented volume of information to advance the public good.

Claudio Mendonca


John Krauss

John Krauss is a technical research fellow at the GovLab @ NYU. He’s active in New York City’s civic hacking scene, working to standardize and visualize transportation, safety, and housing data. John joins the GovLab after several years freelancing in the startup scene, where he experimented with scraping and continuous integration while building open data tools like Crashmapper on the side. His background is in architecture and housing; he received his B.A. in architecture and history from Columbia University and went on to consult on data and web design for NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. In his spare time, John likes to bike, and once cycled from Santiago de Compostela to Berlin. He occasionally blogs, almost never tweets, but often codes.

Claudio Mendonca

Claudio Mendonca is the graphic designer at The GovLab. Working as a graphic artist for more than 10 years, he earned his Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design in 2005. He has extensive experience in branding and interaction design.

Claudio's previous experience includes 3 years developing graphical material for several government institutions in Brazil, publications and interface design for startups.

He also designs webapps for the Centre of Direct Democracy and works as a design consultant at the World Bank Institute on several open gov projects such as Open Government, Open Contracting, Open Development and Technology Alliance, ICT4Gov.

At The GovLab, Claudio is responsible for branding and interaction design for The GovLab projects. He can be found at claudiomendonca.com.

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