Digital twins take on legislation

Published on the 20/07/2023 | Written by Heather Wright

NSW launches ‘legislation twin’ to demystify legal connections and impacts…

NSW has put the digital twin concept to work on legislation, aiming to demystify legislative context and enable people to understand legal interconnections and their potential impacts.

Developed by the NSW Analytics Centre, the ‘legislation twin’ is aimed at government departments and agencies but is open to anyone with an interest in understanding NSW law.

Where digital twins most commonly provide a digital representation of a physical object, such as a product, manufacturing facility, electricity grid, city or even a customer, NSW’s latest twin incarnation is aimed a visualising the often highly complex legislative workings of the state.

“It is often important to understand the interconnections so that potential for changes to one Act to impact another Act can be assessed.”

It draws on data from Public Acts, statutory instruments, environment planning and gazettes from the NSW Legislation site.

“NSW public servants maintain, and deliver policy within, a large and sometimes inevitably complex network of legislation and other legal instruments,” Data NSW, which provides resources for government agencies to share data, says.

“It is often important to understand the interconnections between these instruments so that, for example, the potential for changes to one Act to impact another Act can be assessed or to ensure that all relevant legislation is considered in preparing policy for implementation.”

The legislation twin also provides ‘an intuitive interface’, using natural language processing, for better understanding of where terms within law elements are defined differently, and for visualisation of the allocation of Acts to NSW ministers.

Matthew Roberts, NSW Department of Customer Service director, says additional capability will be added over time.

NSW is among a number of governments and regions, including Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Wellington City, investing heavily in more traditional digital twins.

NSW has been developing its spatial digital twin in conjunction with CISRO’s Data61 since 2018. An online digital twin of Western Sydney was launched in 2020 as part of the project, with twins of other regions rolling out since then as part of the Live NSW program.

Funded with AU$40 million from the Digital Restart Fund, it is designed to deliver a cross-sector, collaborative environment that will share and visualise location information in a 4D _ 3D plus time – model of the real world, in near real time, to support improved decision making.

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