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Australia: Department of Finance publishes national framework for the assurance of AI in government

On June 21, 2024, the Australian Department of Finance announced the release of the National Framework for the Assurance of Artificial Intelligence in Government (the Framework).  Specifically, the Framework provides a national approach for the assurance of artificial intelligence (AI) use across all levels of government in Australia.

Structure of the Framework

The Framework is based on Australia's AI Ethics Principles and emphasizes a national approach while allowing jurisdictions to develop specific policies that consider their legislative, policy, and operational contexts. Specifically, the framework introduces the following five mechanisms to ensure the effective application of AI ethics principles:

  • Governance - Establishes organizational structures, policies, and processes to ensure AI is used responsibly;
  • Data Governance - Focuses on the quality and management of datasets used by AI systems;
  • Risk-based approach - Assesses and manages AI use on a case-by-case basis, focusing on high-risk settings;
  • Standards - Aligns AI implementation with relevant standards to ensure consistency and interoperability; and
  • Procurement - Highlights the importance of ethical considerations in procuring AI systems and products.

The framework offers practical guidance for applying AI ethics principles in government operations, to ensure that AI systems are fair, inclusive, privacy-protective, secure, reliable, transparent, and accountable. Further, the Framework underscores the importance of human oversight and clear roles and responsibilities for AI system management.

You can read the press release here and the Framework here.