Data rights bill hits parliament

James Riley
Editorial Director

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has introduced draft Consumer Data Right laws to the Federal Parliament, A structural reform that he says will create competition as well as incentives for entrepreneurs to build new products and services across the economy.

The bill amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the Privacy Act 1988, and the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 to introduce a consumer data right, initially in the banking sector.

The consumer data right will effectively shift the ownership of customer data from supplier to the customer, enabling consumers to more easily take their transaction data with them as they move from one company to a competitor.

Ready to roll: Josh Frydenberg introduces Consumer Data Right legislation to the Parliament

Mr Frydenberg said the legislation would be a “game-changer” for the consumers and small businesses, enabling consumers to better harness their data for their own benefit.

“The consumer data right is a fundamental structural reform that will drive competition and improve the flow of information around the Australian economy,” Mr Frydenberg told the Parliament late on Wednesday evening.

“The right will incentivise Australian entrepreneurs to develop new products and applications that reach more consumers and are better tailored to their needs,” he said.

The improved access to data would enable consumers to access better price comparison services.

“It will also leverage new technology such as artificial intelligence and allow consumers to make more informed decisions on where they spend their money,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“For small and medium businesses, it will allow for more effective budgeting tools that can deal with data in real time and help them manage their cash flow and working capital more effectively than they can do today.”

“Improved access to data will also enable the development of new, better and more convenient products and services, many customised to individual needs. We live in a world of increasing complexity,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg said the new legislation was “laying the tracks for Australia’s future data economy” and would support “data-driven innovation across the economy” creating high-value jobs across the economy.

The bill introduced last night commits the government to introducing consumer data rights to the banking sector and then to the energy and telecommunications sectors before being extended more broadly across the economy.

“This bill establishes a broader framework that can apply across all sectors to ensure that the data can be transferred in a safe and secure way, while retaining the flexibility to recognise that data access arrangements must be able to adapt to different sectors, different datasets, different risks, different customers’ needs and changing technologies,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This bill allows for the growth and evolution of the consumer data right by allowing new datasets to be added over time. When deciding whether to add new sectors or datasets as being subject to the consumer data right, the minister will be required to seek the public advice of both the ACCC and the Information Commissioner,” he said.

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