CIFR congratulates the Federal Government on initiating the Productivity Commission inquiry into the availability and use of public and private sector data by individuals and organisations in Australia. CIFR’s submission is authored by Dr Kingsley Jones, a CIFR Research Fellow, and an expert in this domain.
Data can contribute to the wellbeing of society through improved decision making in a broad range
of areas. For example, empowering consumers with more detailed information enables them (with
appropriate tools) to make better-quality decisions in relation to all aspects of their lives. The
Productivity Commission Issues Paper identifies the social benefits associated with increased availability and use of data. In particular, there are potential efficiency gains associated with the application of data-driven processes, as opposed to traditional and intuitive approaches. Moreover, increased access to data can serve to promote competition by facilitating the creation of new business opportunities. Also, increased data availability addresses information gaps, which, in turn, lays a foundation for increased innovation. Similarly, there are value opportunities inherent in the linking of datasets. Specifically, a creative ability to re-use data by linking it to other sources represents a potential opportunity to maximise its value. Importantly, any data capture must ensure
that the data is collected in a format that is machine readable so that it can be utilised in a flexible manner preserving high integrity.