The Government 2.0 Taskforce that we’ve posted about a few times over the last few months has made what is possibly its most exciting announcement so far – it’s giving $10,000 to whoever can come up with the most innovative mashup of Australian government data.

The MashupAustralia contest is asking people to show what creativity and programming nouse can do with open public sector information. And to help people get started 59 datasets from more than 15 different government bodies have been released on data.australia.gov.au under CC licences (usually Attribution). All this material, which spans from the Federal electoral boundaries to Powerhouse Museum’s collection database to the locations of Canberra’s public toilets, is now free to be reused, reimagined and repurposed by anyone.

The competition approach is inspired by initiatives such as Sunlight Lab’s Apps for America, which produced great democracy tools such as Filibusted, which tracks attempts by US Parliamentarians to block legislative amendments through endless debates (sound useful for Australia?). To further help people along, there will also reportedly be a MashupAustralia camp at Google’s offices in Sydney, though the details aren’t yet available.

Entries open on 7 October 2009 and close on 6 November 2009. You can enter as an individual or as a team, and anyone who is an Australian resident or citizen is eligible. Entries will be judged by luminaries such as Mark Pesce, futurist, author and judge of ABC’s New Inventors and Creative Commons International’s Chief Technology Officer, Nathan Yergler, with points awarded on:

* Originality
* Consistency with contest purposes including social value
* Quality and design (including standards compliance)
* Usability (including documentation and ease of use)

A whole raft of prizes will be awarded, including a People’s Choice award and Best Student Entry. They’ve even suggested they may award more than one prize for each category if there are enough quality entries.

So check out the datasets and get those creative juices flowing.