3 November 2016
Media Release - #2016116, 2016

Release of Productivity Commission draft report into Data Availability and Use

The Turnbull Government today welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into Data Availability and Use which examined ways to unlock data to empower citizens and boost transparency across our economy.

Innovation is at the heart of a strong economy and the Government is committed to ensuring that Australia is positioned to benefit from the greater use of data.

The inquiry was initiated in March, following a Financial System Inquiry recommendation to review the benefits and costs of increasing the availability and improving the use of data.

The draft report presents a detailed analysis of how data is currently handled in Australia. It finds that the extraordinary growth in data generation and usability over recent decades, together with technological developments, has enabled a kaleidoscope of new business models, products and insights to emerge that benefit individuals, businesses, governments and the community.

It finds there is still enormous untapped potential in Australia’s data and that better utilisation of it would benefit all Australians, particularly in the consumption of services in the finance and health sectors.

The Commission proposes a draft data reform package aimed at moving Australia from a system based on risk aversion and avoidance, to one based on transparency and confidence in data processes, underpinned by four key elements:

  • Giving individuals more control over data held on them;
  • Enabling broader access to datasets that are of national interest;
  • Increasing the usefulness of publicly funded identifiable data amongst trusted users; and
  • Creating a culture in which non-personal and non-confidential data is released by default.

The Government encourages all parties with an interest in the collection, storage or use of data in Australia to read the report and consider making a submission to the Commission. The Commission will be holding public hearings in Sydney and Melbourne at the end of the month, and is also inviting written submissions to be lodged until 12 December 2016.

This inquiry delivers on the Government’s commitments made in response to the Murray Financial System Inquiry and Harper Competition Policy Review. It will complement our existing financial sector and innovation policies, including the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The draft report can be accessed on the Productivity Commission website. The Government looks forwards to receiving the Commission’s final report by March 2017.