Budget 2018: Government set to shake-up consumer data rights with $44.6m investment

Federal Budget includes $44.6 million to launch a new Consumer Data Right aimed at giving Australians more control of their personal data

The Australian Federal Government is set to shake-up the way public and private sector organisations can access and use consumer data by outlaying $44.6 million to launch a new Consumer Data Right 

(CDR).

In its Federal Budget announced yesterday, the government confirmed it will provide $44.6 million over the next four years to establish a National Consumer Data Right (CDR), a construct aimed at allowing Australians to take control of their personal data and share it with the service providers of their choice.

The funding includes $20.2 million over the next four years for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to determine the costs and benefits of designating sectors that will be subject to the CDR, as well as develop and implement rules that govern the data right and content of standards.

There’s also $12.9 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to assess the privacy impact of designating sectors subject to the CDR, and to ensure the rules fit within the guidelines of the Privacy Act 1988. A further $11.5 million will be spent to support the CSIRO in its role as data standards setter, along with $1.4 million in capital funding in 2018-2019.

The CDR plan comes off the back of a Productivity Commission inquiry, commenced in late 2016, which called for a revolution of the country’s data policy framework to give more control of information collected about them by businesses and governments.

It was in the draft report, Data Availability and Use, that the commission first mooted the idea of a comprehensive right to give consumers more control over these data assets, as well as giving individuals the ability to transfer data to a third party of their choice, make edits and corrections, gain a digital copy, and opt out of data collecting activities both in the public and private sector. 

As reported in Computerworld, the government then announced in November that it would introduce legislation to allow for a new Consumer Data Right, allowing individuals to access data relating to their banking, energy, phone and Internet usage.

The Consumer Data Right will revolutionise the provision of data services in Australia by giving Australians the ability to take control of their personal data and share it safely with trusted and accredited service providers,” the government stated in the budget papers.

“When consumers choose to share their data, businesses will be better able to offer financial products and services tailored to individual circumstances, such as personalised budgeting tools. The Right will also enable consumers to save money through improved price comparison and switching services.”

In addition, the Government will spend $20.5 million over the next four years on new data governance arrangements designed to meet the recommendations of its Data Availability and Use report.  

This will be the jurisdiction of a new National Data Commissioner, which will hold responsibility for developing guidance on data sharing arrangements. Monitoring and addressing risks and ethical considerations around data use, and managing high value datasets processes.

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics will provide technical guidance and support to Commonwealth agencies on the release of data, including best practice advice to ensure data is de-identified prior to release,” the budget papers stated.

More accessible digital services

Meanwhile, the Government also announced a big cash injection into improving its own digital services for consumers.

As part of this year’s Federal Budget, $92.4 million will be provided in the next financial year to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in order to accelerate implementation of its GovPass program. GovPass is being positioned as a key component in the Government’s commitment to better and more accessible digital services to the Australian public.

The funding encompasses $60.9 million for the DTA; $25.9m for the Australian Tax Office; and $5.6m for the department of Human Services.

Short-term plans include a pilot allowing users to create a digital identity and complete a Tax File Number application online from end-to-end.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu  

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