WA Gov deploys $9.2m biodiversity data platform

Biodiversity platform WA

The Western Australia Government has unveiled a new online platform and resource, Dandjoo, that provides access to historical biodiversity data – part of the Government’s digital transformation and long-term strategy to improve environmental assessments and planning.

The data-sharing platform, created from a joint investment of $9.2 million, including $7.7 million from the WA Government and an additional $1.5 million contribution from the Commonwealth, will provide information about WA native species and their habitats.

Data from the platform will be made available for use by industry, researchers, governments and other stakeholders to support decision-making, particularly for environmental assessments and conservation research.

The “first of its kind” platform has been developed by the state’s Biodiversity Information Office (BIO), part of WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, with WA to serve as Dandjoo’s “pilot state” for a likely national rollout.

BIO, which remains central to WA’s long-term digital strategy for environmental assessment and approvals and transparent decision-making, will also work in partnership with the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water as part of the cross-jurisdictional Digital Environmental Assessment Program (DEAP) to improve environmental assessments and slash “green tape”.

BIO staff will be also responsible for curating data submitted by government agencies and external parties before it is published to the platform, tasked with “making Western Australian biodiversity data more discoverable, accessible, and useable”.

Dandjoo has been designed to mobilise data from all environment-related sectors, including government, industry, research, and the community, supporting the day-to-day operations of the BIO, including its data-sharing and outreach work.

Dandjoo will also support integration with other government platforms, including the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s forthcoming Environment Online service.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, stressed the importance of efficient data sharing to improve environmental management, describing the current biodiversity information framework as “fragmented, disparate and often unreliable”.

“This system will help governments, landholders, developers, researchers and other stakeholders by giving them access to reliable and comprehensive information to inform their actions.”

WA Environment Minister, Reece Whitby, added that the platform will be useful for the parties involved in the environmental approvals planning process.