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Using government data to solve the cost-of-living crisis | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

The cost-of-living crisis was one of the problems teams tried to fix during GovHack, an open government data hackathon.

Over the weekend, teams across Australia and New Zealand responded to challenges set by sponsors, including the Australian Taxation Office, IP Australia and Heritage NSW.

The teams at the Sydney city location were busy typing away at laptops in the final minutes of the 46-hour event, which began on Friday evening.

A couple of projects focused on the cost-of-living crisis, a challenge set by the NSW Department of Customer Service.

After submitting their projects, participants gave short pitches on how they solved problems using publicly available government information.

Habitasis was a project involving a dashboard where a NSW resident could enter their postcode to see how liveable their suburb was, with a score out of 100. The liveability score was based on NSW government data, including NSW FuelCheck and rental bond lodgements.

Source: GovHack

Another cost-of-living project – called the (Gov) Affordability Planner – used data on NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Program Locations so that families could find a suburb they could afford and suitable schools for their children.

The cost of living was not the only challenge set for the hacker teams. Other challenges included addressing data gaps in heritage inventories and waste management.

One team created an app called Trinity for Victorian residents to search for sustainability initiatives. Those included initiatives such as getting 10 cents back for recycling plastic bottles.

The Sydney Spirit of GovHack award, in recognition of someone who went above and beyond during the event, went to a Trinity team member — NSW Health public servant Naina Gill.

Speaking to The Mandarin, Gill said she’d love to see more public institutions getting involved in the event.

“For participants, it’s an opportunity to make a difference,” Gill said.

“Even if the product or service that they are proposing isn’t the one that makes the change, it could be the one that someone else can build on to make that change.”

Gill said she is passionate about public health and making a change at a policy level.

“We can contribute towards a change that we want to see in a sector or a service that a government provides, and it’s available to everyone,” Gill said.

Another GovHack project included using Heritage NSW data to generate walking tours in an app, with each stop displaying information about why a building is heritage listed. The app had an option to report issues like graffiti and parking availability back to Heritage NSW.

With judging starting on Wednesday, state and territory award winners will be announced in September. The international awards will take place in November.


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