Government Data Sharing proposals

In response to the Productivity Commission’s final report into Data Availability and Use, the Australian Government has announced it will provide $45 million over the next 4 years to reform the Australian data system and introduce a range of measures to implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations. Background.

No specific timetable has been given.

The Government says it is committed to:
1. A Consumer Data Right as a new competition and consumer measure to allow consumers to harness and have greater control over their data.
2. A National Data Commissioner to support a new data sharing and release framework and oversee the integrity of data sharing and release activities of Commonwealth agencies.
3. A legislative package to streamline data sharing and release, subject to strict data privacy and confidentiality provisions.

Consumer Data Right
A Consumer Data Right will allow consumers to access particular data held about them by government and the private sector, including transaction, usage, and product data, in a useful digital format. Consumers will also be able to direct a business to transfer that data to a data recipient.

Implementation of the Consumer Data Right will begin in the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors, and will be extended to other sectors over time.

Open Banking will be phased in from 1 July 2019. More information about Open Banking.

Businesses subject to the Consumer Data Right will need to implement processes to identify what consumer data they hold and to enable consumers to access or transfer consumer data that is subject to the regime to themselves or third parties.

To ensure appropriate oversight and regulation of the Consumer Data Right, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will have separate but complementary enforcement roles.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will have primary responsibility for individual consumer complaints, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will focus on ensuring the system as a whole operates as intended, including supporting competition and good consumer outcomes.

National Data Commissioner
The Australian Government will establish a position to be called the National Data Commissioner and will introduce a new data sharing and release framework.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will provide technical guidance and support to the National Data Commissioner.

A new National Data Advisory Council will advise the National Data Commissioner on ethical data use, technical best practice, and industry and international developments.

A new Data Sharing and Release Act
The Government will introduce laws establishing a new system for data sharing and release in Australia. This legislation will establish institutional and governance arrangements including Accredited Data Authorities and a trusted user framework to facilitate better sharing of data. The legislative package will set clear rules and expectations for data sharing and release, including making clear when data can be shared, and embedding strong safeguards for sensitive data and effective risk management practices.

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