Data sharing and release

Budget Review 2018–19 Index

Nicholas Horne and Philip Hamilton

The 2018–19 Budget provides a total of $65.1 million over 2018–2022 for significant new data sharing and release arrangements.[1] Agencies in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio will account for $20.5 million of this funding ($15.4 million in additional funding and $5.1 million coming from agencies’ existing resources), and agencies within the Treasury portfolio will account for $44.6 million (all additional funding).[2]

The new data sharing and release arrangements will span:

  • ‘developing guidance on data sharing arrangements’
  • ‘monitoring and addressing risks and ethical considerations on data use’
  • ‘managing the process for high value datasets’, and
  • the establishment of a new ‘national consumer data right’ (CDR) relating to the transfer of data between service providers in specified sectors.[3]

The first three of these elements will be the subject of legislation and will be the responsibility of a new entity to be established, the National Data Commissioner. Introduction of the new CDR will be via legislation—‘primarily through changes to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 [Cth]’.[4] The Government has stated that introduction of the CDR will start in the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors.[5] Treasury portfolio agencies will have carriage of introducing the CDR as follows:

  • the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will assess the cost/benefit of ‘designating sectors that will be subject to the CDR’[6] and will develop rules for CDR governance and data standards
  • the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will examine the privacy impact, and
  • the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation will finalise the data standards.[7]

The ACCC and OAIC will have responsibility for, respectively, oversight of the CDR system and consumer complaints concerning the CDR.[8]

The origin of the new data sharing and release arrangements lies in a 2017 Productivity Commission report on data availability and use. The Productivity Commission made a number of recommendations including a new legislative regime for data sharing and release, a comprehensive right for consumers and small/medium businesses concerning data use, and a national data custodian to oversee the new data sharing and release arrangements.[9]

Shortly before the Budget, in its response to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, the Government announced the creation of the new National Data Commissioner, new legislation governing data sharing and release, and the creation of the new CDR.[10]

Commentary on the new data sharing and release arrangements has emphasised the significance of the CDR as a ‘major regulatory change’ while raising doubts about existing federal government capability for its implementation.[11]

In its report the Productivity Commission outlined comparable data governance arrangements in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the European Union, where a General Data Protection Regulation will come into effect on 25 May 2018.[12]

 


[1].          The budget figures in this brief have been taken from the following document unless otherwise sourced: Australian Government, Budget Measures 2018–19: Budget Paper No.2: 2018–19, pp. 166, 186.

[2].          Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio agencies are the Departments of: the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Agriculture and Water Resources; Education and Training; Home Affairs; Industry, Innovation and Science; Health; Human Services; and Social Services, with other portfolio agencies including the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Taxation Office. Treasury portfolio agencies are the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

[3].          Australian Government, Budget Measures 2018–19: Budget Paper No.2: 2018–19, op. cit., p. 186.

[4].          Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), ‘Data availability and use: the Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission data availability and use inquiry: the consumer data right’, DPMC website.

[5].          Ibid.

[6].          Australian Government, Budget Measures 2018–19: Budget Paper No.2: 2018–19, op. cit., p. 186.

[7].          Ibid.

[8].          DPMC, ‘Data availability and use: the Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission data availability and use inquiry: the consumer data right’, op. cit.

[9].          Productivity Commission, Data Availability and Use: Productivity Commission Inquiry Report No. 82, Productivity Commission, Canberra, March 2017, p. 2.

[10].       M Keenan (Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation), M Sukkar (Assistant Minister to the Treasurer), Government response to Productivity Commission inquiry into data availability and use, media release, 1 May 2018; DPMC, ‘Data availability and use: the Australian Government’s response to the Productivity Commission data availability and use inquiry’, op. cit.

[11].       T Burton, ‘Canberra creates a brave new data world’, The Mandarin, 3 May 2018.

[12].       Productivity Commission, Data Availability and Use: Productivity Commission Inquiry Report No. 82, op. cit., pp. 498–507.

 

All online articles accessed May 2018.

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