[@OKFNau] Budget transparency in Australia

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 7 23:20:08 UTC 2013

Hi all, 
If you haven't seen it, I had an article published recently in New Matilda on the history of budget transparency in Australia at https://newmatilda.com/2013/09/25/budget-transparency-will-improve-our-politics with a slightly longer version published in Online Opinion http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15544&page=0
BudgetAus contains the entire federal budget in an online searchable database and creating it has brought to my attention the issues of open knowledge/data particularly in the areas of budget information. 
I aim to network with community advocacy groups and others who use budget information. An example is Craig Wallace, President of People With Disability (also on the implementation committee for the NDIS) as such community groups often understand the need for greater engagement and transparency on budget issues. This post further explains this approach http://infoaus.net/wp/budgetaus-and-social-causes/
I created BudgetAus myself, all of the front and back end coding is mine. I put in last year's figures and my son helped me put in the new figures given that they were not releases in a usable format. I discuss the decision regarding funding and business structure at http://infoaus.net/wp/budgetaus-business-social-enterprise-or-charity/
I have had very positive feedback on the potential of what I am doing to make decent money. My preferred funding is one from multiple sources so that the project can remain as independent as possible. I think the Climate Commission shows how important the issue of independence is, however this also depends on people deciding to fund such an endeavour themselves hence my crowdfunding campaign starting today at StartSomeGood  http://startsomegood.com/budgetaus
BudgetAus has experienced its fair share of hurdles and set backs, the main issue at the moment is a lack of funds to get through the preparation for fund seeking although that should be happening very soon. If I get a lot of support then I won't have to seek outside funding but that depends on the choices of the public and the choice you make while reading this.
Please get behind what I'm doing. I know a lot of people on this list have worked for many years on issues that I have only recently made acquaintance with, however my experience with disenfranchisement in Australian society along with my educational background has given me a position from which to engage people who do not necessarily relate to the concepts of open data.
BudgetAus data (based on search results) is currently available for download in Word and Excel format under the Creative Commons 3.0 licence. My implementation of this functionality is quite recent and may need some bug checking. I plan to extend functionality to allow people to create their own visualisations or graphs for use in their own media. I'll be looking into that in coming weeks. 
An example of the search results on BudgetAus is at http://shar.es/EmUvf (power search links to Excel not implemented)
No doubt I have some bugs to go and fix so I'll leave my plea for support here and get on with it.
Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)Founder & Developer InfoAus.netABN 90 345 143 783
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