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Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Page: 13


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (09:57): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill will amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the Privacy Act 1988, and the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 to introduce a consumer data right and open banking.

Today is another major step in Australia's data revolution. With this bill, Australia becomes a world leader in implementing an economy-wide right for consumers to access and use data that businesses hold about them.

This important reform will provide individuals and businesses with a right to access data relating to them; and to authorise secure access to their data by accredited data recipients.

It will also enable data about products on offer to be available in machine readable form.

The consumer data right is a right for consumers to authorise data sharing and use. Consumers will determine which data is shared under the right, on what terms and with whom.

The consumer data right is a game changer for consumers and small businesses. It will enable consumers to better harness their data for their own benefit. The consumer data right is a fundamental structural reform that will drive competition and improve the flow of information around the Australian economy.

And the right will incentivise Australian entrepreneurs to develop new products and applications that reach more consumers and are better tailored to their needs.

For consumers, improved access to data will support better price comparison services, taking into account their unique circumstances, and promote more convenient switching between products and providers. It will also leverage new technology such as artificial intelligence and allow consumers to make more informed decisions on where they spend their money.

For small and medium businesses, it will allow for more effective budgeting tools that can deal with data in real time and help them manage their cashflow and working capital more effectively than they can do today.

Improved access to data will also enable the development of new, better and more convenient products and services, many customised to individuals' needs.

We live in a world of increasing complexity. Many consumers need assistance in understanding the choices open to them and how best to navigate the sheer volume of choices presented to them—choices that may not be presented in a way that allows them to make effective comparisons.

For example, the recent Productivity Commission review on competition in the Australian financial system reported that the average Australian household could be saving up to $1,000 per year on their home loan if they switched to another lender—but many do not. With over 4,000 different residential property loans on offer, it is no wonder that customers struggle to determine which home loan is best for them.

The consumer data right provides efficient and convenient access to accurate information and empowers third parties to develop tools that will allow consumers to make the most of the choices available to them.

These tools are likely to include comparison sites that take into account the actual ways the consumer uses the product; budgeting apps that analyse actual spending behaviours; and services that assess the expected return for a household that is considering the installation of rooftop solar panels taking into account their actual electricity usage.

By doing so, the consumer data right will increase competition and drive consumer focused innovation.

This bill lays the tracks for Australia's future data economy.

The consumer data right will support data-driven innovation across the economy. New high-value jobs will be created by positioning Australia at the global forefront of data access and innovation.

In introducing this bill today, we are implementing commitments made by the government in its response to its review into open banking in Australiaand to theProductivity Commission'sdata availability and useinquiry.

The government has committed to applying the consumer data right to banking, where it is referred to as open banking, then to the energy and telecommunications sectors, and in due course more widely across the economy.

This bill establishes a broader framework that can apply across all sectors to ensure that the data can be transferred in a safe and secure way, while retaining the flexibility to recognise that data access arrangements must be able to adapt to different sectors, different datasets, different risks, different customer needs and changing technologies.

This bill allows for the growth and evolution of the consumer data right by allowing new datasets to be added over time.

When deciding whether to add new sectors or datasets as being subject to the consumer data right, the minister will be required to seek the public advice of both the ACCC and Information Commissioner. The minister must consider a range of factors prior to adding a sector, including the impact on consumers, competition, data-driven innovation, privacy and confidentiality, and whether the data may contain intellectual property. (Quorum formed)

This bill establishes a broader framework that can apply across all sectors to ensure that the data can be transferred in a safe and secure way, while retaining the flexibility to recognise that data access arrangements must be able to adapt to different sectors, different datasets, different risks, different customer needs and changing technologies.

This bill allows for the growth and evolution of the consumer data right by allowing new datasets to be added over time.

When deciding whether to add new sectors or datasets as being subject to the consumer data right, the minister will be required to seek the public advice of both the ACCC and the Information Commissioner. The minister must consider a range of factors prior to adding a sector, including the impact on consumers, competition, data-driven innovation, privacy and confidentiality, and whether the data may contain intellectual property.

The bill also creates a rules and technical standards framework that recognises the need to allow for flexibility in implementation over time as technology adapts and between sectors that have different risks and differing levels of technological capability.

Nevertheless, implementation between sectors should be as consistent and interoperable as possible. Consistency and interoperability will facilitate the growth of a vibrant data ecosystem and ensure consumers are able to navigate easily the emerging data economy as active participants.

Strong privacy and information security provisions are a fundamental design feature of the consumer data right. These protections include privacy safeguards and additional privacy protections through the consumer data rules. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will advise on and enforce privacy protections, and provide complaint handling for breaches of the privacy safeguards. Consumers will have a range of avenues to seek remedies for breaches of their privacy or confidentiality, including access to internal and external dispute resolution and direct rights of action.

Only trusted and accredited third parties will be able to access data from data holders at the customer's direction. Accreditation can be considered to be a 'data safety licence'. Accreditation will contribute to the justified confidence that consumers can have that the system supports safety and security for their data.

The ACCC will be responsible for advising what sectors should be added, writing rules, accrediting new participants and enforcing serious and systemic breaches of consumers' rights.

Complementing the rules, technical standards turn what is a right in principle into real action. The data standards chair, advised by the Data Standards Body, will be responsible for working with businesses, consumers and innovators to ensure that the right is implemented in a way that promotes efficiency, convenience and safety. Consistent standards will support access to data that is usable and reduce the barriers to service providers offering new services to consumers.

The bill also contains a statutory review provision, with a review to be completed by 1 July 2022. This review will provide an opportunity for the government to confirm that the system is operating as intended and to consider the impacts of the system on consumers and industry.

I would like to thank the active and ongoing engagement by industry, consumer and privacy groups, and fintechs in the development of this bill. I also thank them for their ongoing engagement in the Productivity Commission's inquiry and the Open Banking Review and in the development of rules by the ACCC and standards by Data61.

This bill will provide all Australians with a new right to access their data and use it in a way that they have never been able to do before. We live at a time of unparalleled technological advances. The consumer data right will allow Australia to fully leverage these advances.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.