Budget 2018: Government funds push to unlock data

Details $65 million data initiatives

The government will put more than $65 million towards funding new rules that will give consumers greater control over their personal data and make more public-sector data sets available for businesses, agencies and researchers.

The budget details the funding for the initiatives that the government unveiled as part of its response to the Productivity Commission’s 2017 report on data availability and use.

The government said it would spend $44.6 million over four years to develop the new ‘Consumer Data Right’. The government announced in November that it planned to introduce legislation that will allow individuals to access data relating to a range of services they purchase.

Initially, the focus will be on their banking, energy, and telecommunications data, but the government says it intends to it eventually “apply economy-wide”

“Establishing a Consumer Data Right will give consumers greater control of their personal data and the choice to direct businesses to share consumers’ data safely with trusted recipients, who in turn will be able to offer better deals through innovative products and comparison services,” budget documents state.

The funding includes $1.4 million in capital funding to establish the CDR “that will allow consumers and small to medium enterprises to access and transfer their data between service providers in designated sectors”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will receive $20.2 million over four years “to assist in determining the costs and benefits of designating sectors that will be subject to the CDR, and to develop and implement rules to govern the data right and the content of data standards”.

Australia’s federal privacy watchdog, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, will receive $12.9 million over four years “to assess the privacy impact of designating sectors subject to the CDR, and to ensure consistency of rule-making with the Privacy Act 1988”.

The government revealed that the CSIRO would also receive $11.5 million “in its role as the data standards setter”.

A second key component of the government’s response to the PC — the implementation of new data governance arrangements — receives $20.5 million over four years.

A “data sharing and release framework, underpinned by legislation, will be developed and administered by a newly established National Data Commissioner (NDC),” budget documents state.

The NDC, who will be supported by a National Data Advisory Council, will have a mandate to “unlock the productivity benefits of valuable datasets, identify opportunities for improved data use, and build national frameworks and guidelines,” the government said in its response to the PC data report.

Budget documents state that 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 cost of the NDC and associated data sharing regime will be met from within the budgets of seven departments and the ATO.

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Tags governmentprivacyopen dataBudget 2018National Data Commissioner (NDC)

More about AustraliaAustralian Bureau of StatisticsAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionCSIRONDCProductivity Commission

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