Open data: Productivity Commission scrutinises data access, usage

PC releases issues paper for data inquiry

The Productivity Commission has released an issues paper to help guide public input for its inquiry into the availability and use of public and private data by individuals and organisations.

The government last month announced it had commissioned a PC inquiry to look ways to boost the use of public and private sector data, as well as individuals’ control of their own data.

The inquiry was announced by Treasurer Scott Morrisonas part of the government’s fintech action plan.

“Effective use of data is increasingly integral to the efficient functioning of the economy. Improved availability of data, combined with the tools to exploit it, is creating new economic opportunities,” read the government’s fintech statement.

“The industry is seeking more standardised practices on financial data aggregation and government support for standard open-data application programming interfaces (APIs) to support FinTech innovators and give Australians better ways to understand, manage and maximise their finances.”

“In preparing its report to Government, the Commission will analyse the costs, benefits and risks of increasing access to data and examine ways to increase data availability and use,” states the PC’s issues paper, which was made public today.

“Effective use of data is increasingly integral to the efficient functioning of the economy,” the inquiry’s terms reference state.

“Improved availability of reliable data, combined with the tools to use it, is creating new economic opportunities. Increasing availability of data can facilitate development of new products and services, enhance consumer and business outcomes, better inform decision making and policy development, and facilitate greater efficiency and innovation in the economy.

“As in Australia, international governments are encouraging greater use of data through open data policies. This will increase the transparency and accountability of government processes.”

Initial submissions to the inquiry are due by 29 July. A draft report is expected to be issued in November.

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