BudgetHack 17

The Victorian State Budget sets out the government’s expenditure and program priorities for the year, but what do the numbers really mean to an everyday Victorian citizen?

Budgethack is a community event is for data analysts, communicators, researchers, designers, developers – really anyone that is interested, to come together and explore different ways to present and make sense of the state budget information.

Budget Hack tries to explore how different people from different points of view set the agenda for discussions on what the budget means and how governments could foster greater dialogue and knowledge sharing.

By inviting  the community into the process of telling the ongoing stories about what’s being spent and how that’s happening we create the opportunity to bring together work with members of the community with a range of concerns, skills, and experiences.   Working together we develop ways to not only communicate the budget but also read the budget with the concerns that matter to everyday Victorians in the foreground.

How BudgetHack works

Budgethack kicked off on the 3rd of May 2017 with the announcement of this year's challenges.

Participants form teams and worked together for two weeks, designing and developing information exploration and communication tools.

The Open Knowledge Melbourne meetup at ThoughtWorks will be available on Wednesday 10 May 2017 for teams to meet and work on their BudgetHack projects.

Pitching and Judging was held on Wednesday 17 May 2017.

The Pitches

The Empathy Project looked at how advocacy of family violence prevention could be achieved by building more user-friendly communication and information discovery tools. In this project a prototype digital product was developed which could help users

  • find answers to questions about what the government are doing to prevent family violence 
  • voice their concerns about the state government’s approach to addressing the issue of family violence
  • share information and ideas about family violence prevention.

Engaging in the issue of how governments might utilise funds for projects designed to appease voters, Open Pork Barrel Watch drew from a range of data sources to produce a tool that helps visualise spending patterns across safe and marginal seats. Exploring the potential of qualitative research in government and industry, Open Budget Conspiracies, presented a series set on the budget map that integrates archival material from “Beyond 2000”, a television special from 1990, to bring the research into historic context.

Addressing the challenge of simplifying the budget, Budget Buddy  is an app that takes the budgets and output measures of the various government departments and generates data visualisations with charts and top-line numbers to make the figures easier for non-experts to understand. The app could also  it easier to export and share this information with the general public. iTreasurer aimed to change the way the government and Victorians interact around the budget. Through an interactive interface, it educates Victorians about the current budget, and allows them to participate in the next one by nominating which areas they would like spending to be prioritised. Sunburst was developed as a visualisation tool for quickly and intuitively seeing what allocated spending is occurring on service delivery at the agency-project level

Looking at the issue of education, The Voice of Victoria modelled a democratic online community which helps both citizens and the government glean insights into the needs of stakeholders in the state education system by creating a system to raise awareness of issues within the sector. EdYou helps families with school-age children make the best decision for their children's education. The project could give families some insight into the primary and secondary schools in their localities, and offers information about how the Victorian budget will assist and improve school funding in their area.

Project Smash approached simplifying the budget and understanding urban/regional change by making it personal to the citizen exploring the issue of housing affordability (including the number of smashed avocadoes you’d need to forego to save your deposit) . The app’s dashboard helps First Home Owners understand the impact of the 2017/18 budget measures on their lives and provides them with relevant data visuals to guide people seeking to explore the factors surrounding the issue owning your first home.

In order to address the emotional barriers to help-seeking by those who are victims of domestic violence, What We Need to Save a Life set out to use map data to help women find crisis shelters. The application could allow users to view map data and also create metadata tags which could be submitted as information requests. The team behind this project hoped to assist the Victorian Government with internal advocacy and improve internal compliance around data relating to this sensitive and complex issue.

  • The Winners
  • Judges award iTreasurer 
  • People’s choice Project Smash.

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