Treasury has released a new consultation paper that explores the expansion of the CDR to industries including insurance, groceries, health and education. What does this mean for organisations?

On 22 July, Treasury released the Consumer Data Right Strategic Assessment Consultation Paper. It asked for feedback from interested parties on the expansion of the CDR in preparation to deliver the roadmap for its proposed economy-wide roll out. The Paper states that 'the Government [is] committed to an accelerated economy-wide roll-out of the CDR with a new sector to be assessed and designated every year.' It is seeking input on the order and speed at which datasets should be made available across sectors and will consider whether a sector by sector approach should continue to be adopted.

An economy-wide regime that will change the business landscape

The Consumer Data Right (CDR) is an economy wide regime that aims to empower consumers with the right to access and share their data. Under the CDR framework, data holders will be required by law to transfer CDR data, including product and consumer data, to accredited third parties at the request of the customer. In addition, a person or business may apply to become an Accredited Data Recipient (ADR), so they are able to receive this valuable consumer data in return. This means that whilst the CDR is a consumer centric model, it also presents an exciting opportunity for businesses to innovate and improve their services and products so that they are able to benefit in conjunction with consumers under this regime.

Implementation of the CDR has already begun in the financial sector in what is commonly referred to as 'Open Banking.' This will allow customers to easily switch between their choice of banks and transfer CDR data including their contact, transaction, account and product details. The Big Four Banks have completed all initial phases of the CDR rollout, with smaller deposit taking institutions set to follow between now and 2022.

The CDR is an economy wide reform, which is being activated sector by sector.

The CDR is set to roll out next within the energy and telecommunications sectors, and if all goes to plan, will eventually digitise and transform the entire Australian economy.

New sectors to come under the CDR regime

In conducting the assessment, the Paper states that it will particularly focus on the CDR's key policy objectives including which sectors and datasets will:

  • promote the greatest benefits for consumers under the CDR regime
  • enhance competition and market efficiency
  • create opportunities for innovation such as the creation of new data-driven products
  • provide opportunities for the CDR to promote safer and more secure data sharing practices.

The government has announced that Telecommunications will be the third sector for CDR designation, subject to the Telecommunications Sectoral Assessment, which is also underway.

In addition, the Paper highlights a list of potential future sectors that will be affected after the Energy and Telecommunication sectors, including:

  • General insurance
  • Groceries
  • Health insurance
  • Loyalty schemes
  • Non-bank lenders
  • Superannuation
  • Transport
  • Government
  • Health
  • Education
  • Agriculture

Impact on data holders across industries

Based on the government's commitment to the CDR, it is likely that the economy wide expansion will slowly take place as proposed.

This will fundamentally change the business landscape and digitise the Australian economy in ways that have perhaps not fully been appreciated or realised yet.

As stated in the Paper: 'the CDR will fundamentally change the way Australian consumers and business engage, understand and benefit from data, and in doing so transform the economy.'

Key considerations for organisations preparing to comply with the CDR

For data holders in affected sectors, preparing for compliance with the CDR will require significant IT and regulatory efforts, and will likely be expensive in both cost and time. This has already been noticeable within the banking sector, with many ADIs failing short of the deadlines for CDR compliance. As such, organisations within the energy and telecommunications sectors should begin preparing and planning now for when they will have to soon also comply with the CDR regime.

For example, they will need to:

  • Understand the regulatory regime in detail and identify steps to comply
  • Consider upgrading technology systems to ensure data can be kept and stored appropriately
  • Investigate how these activities fit within the organisation's longer term digital strategy. Savvy organisations will look beyond compliance to consider the ongoing opportunities that the CDR regime presents.

If you are a business or person that could apply to become and an accredited data recipient, you should consider how your business may benefit from the regime. While implementation is a challenge, there will likely be big rewards for organisations that move first on this front.

If you are a party that is interested in or may be affected by the rollout of the CDR, you can prepare a submission for treasury and email it to [email protected]. Submission are open until Thursday 19 August 2021. Guidelines to preparing a submission can be found in the submission guidelines.