Reforms enable customers to own their data

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017

Reforms enable customers to own their data

Australian customers will soon own their own phone, banking, internet and energy data.

The federal government is planning to legislate a national Consumer Data Right, enabling Australians to compare offers, gain access to cheaper products and more easily switch to other providers.

“Government is pursuing the very simple idea that the customer should own their own data. It is a powerful idea and a very important one,” said Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor.

“Australians have been missing out because it’s too hard to switch to something better. You may be able to access your recent banking transactions, or compare this quarter’s energy bill to the last, but it sure isn’t quick or easy to work out if you can get a better deal elsewhere.”

The Consumer Data Right was one of 41 recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s Data Availability and Use Inquiry, tabled in parliament in May this year. The government’s formal response to the inquiry will be published in coming weeks.

“It won’t be far down the track when you can simply tap your smartphone to switch from one bank to another, to a cheaper internet plan, or between energy companies. Government is lifting the lid on competition in consumer services and technology is the enabler,” Taylor said.

Following on from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent agreement with electricity retailers, as well as an open banking initiative, the Consumer Data Right will be established sector by sector, beginning in the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors.

Utilities will be required to provide standard, comparable, easy-to-read digital information, which third parties can readily access. New Commonwealth legislation to give effect to these reforms will be brought forward in 2018.

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