The Department of Social Services (DSS) makes two types of data accessible through the AIHW:

  • the Priority Investment Approach dataset
  • Data Over Multiple INdividual Occurrences (DOMINO).

The Priority Investment Approach

The Priority Investment Approach (PIA) is a new way of looking at the welfare system. It applies data analysis to provide insights into how the system is working and uses those insights to find innovative ways of helping more Australians live independently of welfare. The PIA dataset is one of the de-identified datasets that underpin the Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare. For more information on these initiatives, please visit the DSS website.

The Priority Investment Approach dataset

The Australian Priority Investment Approach Longitudinal Income Support Administrative dataset is a longitudinal social security dataset extracted from the Department of Human Services (DHS) Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). This dataset holds a significant amount of information including de-identified information about individuals. The dataset contains longitudinal quarterly data from July 2001 to June 2015. The administrative data has been collected for the purpose of recording the service delivery activities to account for the expenditure of government revenue in the form of payments and services. Demographics data has been collected as administrative data items that are related to the eligibility rules for a specific benefit.


DOMINO contains modular event-based data on individuals providing a longitudinal picture of the interaction of individual welfare recipients throughout their interactions with DSS payments.  These de-identified data have been designed with a focus on enduring data integration and as an asset for future research. DOMINO contains information on recipients’ demographics, benefits history, concessions, education (where available) and housing.

How do I get access?

Streamlined access arrangements are in place and access will be provided on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will need to submit all relevant documentation from the application pack for review by the AIHW. Consideration will then be given by DSS to issuing a Public Interest Certificate that will enable researchers to access the data.

Please note that access to the dataset is currently provided via the Sax Institute’s Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE) .

Accessing data via SURE

Accessing the dataset via SURE will incur costs, detailed in the access costs page. Pricing is variable and can be tailored for a variety of budgets. Please also note that within SURE you will only have access to the PIA and/or the DOMINO dataset. External datasets can only be brought into SURE with explicit approval from DSS and the AIHW. Any outputs you wish to extract from SURE will need to be approved by the AIHW. 

PIA synthetic data

A synthetic version of the PIA data has been created to provide access to administrative data for general users while maintaining the privacy of individuals. The synthetic PIA data is available via free registration at Dataverse to allow researchers to explore the data and test analytical models, as well as a teaching tool for complex social welfare data.

The synthetic data contains a limited number of variables suitable for research, while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of individuals. The synthetic dataset has been created by applying a privacy-preserving algorithm on the original PIA data. This process results in each person’s true data being modified such that the overall group data very closely represents that of the original dataset, yet no one individual’s data remains in the synthetic dataset. That is, the dataset is a combination of synthetic records that, when combined, reflect the shape of the original dataset.