The Australian Government has announced that it will release postcode data for free. This could allow new logistics or transport startups to arrive at accurate locations without paying the government for its address database.

The country’s Geo-coded National Address File, including postcodes, and administrative and electoral boundaries is “one of the most requested ubiquitous, high-value datasets to the economy”, said Helen Owens, Principal Adviser, Public Data, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From February 2016, the data will be available under an open data license on data.gov.au at no cost to users.

Currently, businesses need to pay to license the address data from a state-owned company that collects and standardises the data from the government’s mapping agencies and land registries, the Australian Electoral Commission and Australia Post.

The previous licensing arrangements “were highly restrictive, preventing optimal collaboration and data sharing between existing users. This resulted in underutilisation of the data,” Owens said.

“Geocoded address data can be used in almost any business or operation,” she added. It can be used by government for infrastructure planning, public service delivery and emergency response. It is particularly useful for delivery businesses which rely on location data.

The address data will be published as a pipe separated value (psv) file and the boundaries data as an ESRI shapefile. Both will be updated every three months.