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Australia to introduce legislation allowing customers open access to banking

Australia to introduce legislation allowing customers open access to banking, energy, phone and internet data

The Australian Government announced
today that it will a national Consumer Data
Right
, allowing customers open access to their banking, energy, phone
and internet transactions.

Australian consumers will be able to compare offers, get
access to cheaper products and plans to help them ‘make the switch’ and get
greater value for money.

Following on from the Prime Minister’s recent agreement with
electricity retailers, and the Treasurer’s 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, that third parties can readily access. New
Commonwealth legislation to give effect to these reforms will be brought
forward in 2018.

The ultimate objective is to enable Australians to switch from
one bank to another, to a cheaper internet plan, or between energy companies,
by simply tapping their smartphones.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation
Angus Taylor described it as the biggest reform to consumer law in a
generation. He said, “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.”

“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,” he
added.

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.

In October, Assistant Minister Taylor said
that the Australian government is working with industry to develop a
standardised set of APIs that must make data easily available to consumers and
their agreed third party advocates, as part of the government’s response to the
Productivity Commission’s report.

The standardised APIs can be combined with a government-facilitated
digital identity that allows providers to accept pre-established identities
with high levels of integrity. There would be no more need for many usernames
and passwords to access services. Recently, the Australian Government released
draft
of the Trusted Digital Identity Framework
and is seeking
public comment
 on the draft national standards and rules that will
frame the Australian Government’s digital identity program.

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