Open era begins with launch of hub

Article image - Open era begins with launch of hub Mayor Teresa Harding looking over Ipswich City Councilís Transparency and Integrity Hub.

Ipswich City Council, Queensland, has given ratepayers unprecedented access to the city’s finances with the launch on 2 July of its online Transparency and Integrity Hub, a first for local government in Australia.

More than six gigabytes of data has been published to the hub, providing direct access to past and current financial information for Council as well as Council-controlled entities.

Also available are councillor expenses, how much money was spent on the city’s Smart City Program and procurement data for contracts over $200,000 (excluding GST).

Mayor Teresa Harding said the hub’s launch was an important moment for the City of Ipswich.

“Our community’s trust in Council was heavily shaken in recent years as damning examples of maladministration and misuse of public monies came to light.

“Today, we close the door on that dark past and mark a truly fresh start for an era of unrivalled transparency and accountability.

“This is bigger than simply publishing data, it’s also about driving effective decisions through a more accountable organisation and more informed community.”

The Ipswich transparency and integrity hub uses the OpenGov cloud-based software, a leading platform used by more than 1000 cities, counties and state agencies across the United States including City of New York, Ohio State and San Antonio.

OpenGov founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zac Bookman lauded Ipswich for leading the way in the movement for effective and accountable government.

“Through our local partner in Australia, Redman Solutions, we are delighted to help lead the way in transforming Australian local government. “Mayor Harding said the OpenGov platform was unanimously selected via a panel through an open tender process.
While the primary focus of the hub is the publication of the City’s current financial and legacy data, opportunities exist for it to be used in more ways in the future for community engagement, such as modern participatory budgeting, budget gamification, survey and tools, and Contemporary Smart City approaches that empower the community.