Given that I work in social media, reading TechCrunch is a daily necessity. Earlier this week they reported in a guest post by the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, that the city of San Francisco had published a new website called DataSF.org, which will be used to release city data into the public domain.

Newsom writes in the article that:

The new web site will provide a clearinghouse of structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format. For example, there will be updated crime incident data from the police department and restaurant inspection data from the Department of Public Health.

He continues:

We imagine creative developers taking apartment listings and city crime data and mashing it up to help renters find their next home or an iPhone application that shows restaurant ratings based on health code violations.

We already have an iPhone app for Sydney restaurant inspection data. But not in Melbourne. No. In Victoria the ALP strangles innovation and is obsessed with secrecy. Local governments are infested with party political hacks determined to get into state parliament and these parasites are one reason why local governments are so bad at delivering local services.

Local and state governments in Victoria have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to maintain public health and improve the public good by publishing food hygiene inspection information.

When I first came to Melbourne for a week in 2001 to appear on the ABC TV show Aftershock I loved it so much I quickly became determined to move here. My vague plans to move to Sydney were soon forgotten.

Nearly eight years later, I’m becoming exhausted by the lack of innovation here. It’s becoming clear that I cannot achieve my community oriented social media goals in such a backward environment. It may be time to look elsewhere for a more enlightened city in which to live and work.

In Sydney the premier is starting to force state owned corporations to release their data into the public domain. Are there any politicians in Victoria with the intelligence, common sense and ethical standards necessary to do the same?

if only Melbourne was more like San Francisco (or Sydney)

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