Productivity Commission Recommendations: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 and 8.7
The Productivity Commission recommended the Australian Government introduce a Consumer Data Right to improve consumer control over the data which businesses hold about consumers' use of products and services.
'[The Consumer Data Right offers] the capacity to underpin a new wave of competition policy, similar in its catalytic effect to the Hilmer reforms of the 1990s.'
Giving consumers better access to this data, and the ability to direct data be transferred to data recipients, would make it easier for them to find a better deal and share their information only with parties they trust. For example, consumers could share their data with trusted service providers or with comparison services to investigate other service offerings.
This in turn would drive greater competition between businesses to attract new customers and encourage new business models to unlock the value of consumer data.
The Australian Government's response
The Australian Government will introduce a Consumer Data Right to allow consumers to access particular data, including transaction, usage, and product data, in a useful digital format. Consumers will also be able to direct a business to transfer that data to a data recipient.
Implementation of the Consumer Data Right will begin in the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors, and will be rolled out to other sectors over time. Before rolling out reforms in a particular sector, the Government will work with that sector and consumers to determine the kind of data consumers require to achieve the intended choice and competition benefits.
The Consumer Data Right will be designed to ensure strong privacy protections and security safeguards. Government and industry will develop appropriate data standards for the protection, access and transfer of data.
To ensure appropriate oversight and regulation of the Consumer Data Right, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will have separate but complementary enforcement roles. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will have primary responsibility for individual consumer complaints, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will focus on ensuring the system as a whole operates as intended, including supporting competition and good consumer outcomes. There will be robust information sharing arrangements between the two. Consumers will be able to direct complaints to a single contact point, run by the OAIC, who will handle complaints using a 'no wrong door' approach.
The Consumer Data Right will be introduced primarily through changes to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The Treasurer will lead implementation of the Consumer Data Right.