New Laws to improve access to data and use of data

A Data Sharing and Release Legislative Package

Productivity Commission Recommendations: 6.16, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.5 and 8.6

The Productivity Commission identified a number of barriers inhibiting the better use of data, and argued that simplifying and improving the consistency of our current laws to benefit all Australians through greater choice and improved services. The Productivity Commission recommended a legislative pathway to modernise Australia’s regulatory framework governing data availability and use.

'Legislative reform provides the opportunity to enshrine a new approach to data — a permission to use data assets in a way not envisioned when the current rules and practices were established.'

Productivity Commission 2017, Data Availability and Use Final Report

The Australian Government's response

A new Data Sharing and Release Act

The Government will introduce laws underpinning a new system for data sharing and release in Australia. This legislation will establish institutional and governance arrangements including Accredited Data Authorities and a trusted user framework to facilitate better sharing of data. The legislative package will set clear rules and expectations for data sharing and release, including making clear when data can be shared, and embedding strong safeguards for sensitive data and effective risk management practices.

Balancing access and secrecy through a trusted user framework

The Productivity Commission found, in some cases, secrecy provisions in existing laws could unreasonably hinder data sharing and release for matters of public interest.

Australia's secrecy provisions relating to access to and use of identifiable data have been set after thorough consideration of our national interests, and will not be changed without careful consideration. The data sharing and release legislative package will provide a robust authorisation process, balancing the operation of secrecy provisions with data sharing and release for public interest purposes. Importantly, the new legislation will not affect existing protections applying to particularly sensitive data, such as national security and law enforcement data. A number of key data safeguards will apply.