Yesterday, the Productivity Commission released its Final Report into Data Availability and Use in Australia. The Report was commissioned to determine the benefits and costs of options for increasing availability of and improving the use of public and private sector data by individuals and organisations.
Australia’s current regulatory framework limits the accessibility and sharing of data as they were developed prior to digitisation. Updating these laws would assist in the transfer of information to facilitate innovation and flow of knowledge creating overall productivity across the Australian economy. The Report acknowledges the risk from the liberalisation of data laws but suggests competent management of these risks should not detract from the opportunity for growth.
The Report recommends that consumers should be afforded more control over their data under a Comprehensive Right to access and that additional powers should be granted to the ACCC that would make them responsible for handling complaints and resolving consumer complaints over data and the Comprehensive Right. Government agencies should also create publicly accessible datasets. An Office of the National Data Custodian (NDC) should be established with the responsibility for the implementation of data management policy. The Report proposed legislative reform to codify its recommendations.
Kingfisher Law recognises the benefits associated with increasing data availability and sharing capacities with regards to co-operatives. In the 2015 Senate Inquiry into Co-operatives, Mutuals and Member-Owned Firms, a key recommendation was for Government to ensure a national collection of statistics and data to assist in understanding the market of co-operatives and mutuals in Australia. The absence of accessible data was found to restrict the development of suitable policy in the area. This impacts the accessibility of co-operatives to customers and limits the ability of co-operatives to emphasise their collective importance to the Australian economy.
The Productivity Commission’s Report into Data Availability and Use can be read in full here.
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