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GovHack growing WA’s innovation reputation


GovHack Perth 2015 pitched 130 Western Australian data hackers against teams from the Eastern States and New Zealand, as the State grows its information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Launching GovHack Perth in the city’s Spacecubed centre, Finance Minister Bill Marmion said it was an exciting example of what could be achieved through community and government collaboration. A record $35,000 prize pool attracted many top local hackers to the event held over the weekend of July 3rd – 5th.

“This 46-hour event brings together WA’s best and brightest, working with open government data to innovate and celebrate our State’s technical and creative capacity,” Mr Marmion said. “Timed to coincide with 20 similar events across Australia and New Zealand, GovHack pushes Perth’s potential as a technology city and the enormous talent we have on the west coast.”

After small beginnings in 2009, the annual GovHack events are now dovetailing with the trans-Tasman open data movement, which promises major economic and social spinoffs. Lands Minister Terry Redman said the community and commercial potential of GovHack was exemplified by Perth’s Team Sarbii winning the 2014 national Best Business Hack prize.

“Using Landgate and Department of Mines and Petroleum information, Sarbii not only provided a dynamic search and rescue management tool, it also yielded a mobile app allowing people to ‘check in’ their journeys,” Mr Redman said. “This has led to a commercial tracking product which is about to be released on to the market.”

Run by volunteers, the non-profit GovHack Perth has been held WA since 2013. In 2015, sponsors included: the departments of the Premier and Cabinet, Aboriginal Affairs and Culture and the Arts; Landgate; Main Roads WA; Synergy; Regional Development Australia; RAC; Cisco; Pawsey Supercomputing Centre; Curtin University; Community and Public Sector Union; Spacecubed; Knowledge Society; GovHack National; Women in Technology Western Australia; NGIS.

In 2014, 10 WA teams won national prizes and honourable mentions in the taxation data, business, open data and people’s choice categories. In 2015, a WA Government agency will support the GovHack national awards for the first time.

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