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Data Availability and Use

Issues paper

This paper was released on 18 April 2016 to assist participants in preparing a submission to the public inquiry into Data Availability and Use. It outlines a range of issues about which the Commission is seeking information.

Initial submissions were due by 29 July 2016.

Opportunity for further comment was sought on the draft report.

Download the issues paper

  • Media release

Access to public and private sector big data

The Productivity Commission today invited academics, government agencies, private entities with large data holdings (including in finance and social media), organisations interested in data access and members of the community to contribute to its new public inquiry on Data Availability and Use.

An issues paper released today provides initial perspectives on areas of interest to the inquiry.

In releasing the issues paper, Chairman Peter Harris said that, 'The significant evolution in data collection and analysis seen in recent times suggests that the culture, standards and policy structures that have applied to what is commonly called big data analytics may need to move out of the back room and into the showroom if community confidence and wide opportunity for innovation are to be maximised.'

The way data is being collected and used — or not used — appears to be changing rapidly, perhaps more rapidly overseas than in Australia. This presents both new opportunities and new risks. The Inquiry will seek to explore the benefits of providing greater access for third parties to big data holdings, public and private, and consider new models for making data available. Equally, the Inquiry will consider current policies and regulations in place to protect the legitimate interests of individuals and businesses in privacy and confidentiality, and consider whether they remain fit for purpose.

The Commission will look at both principles and practical reform opportunities in response to developing trends across national and international markets, designed to position Australia to lift its performance in safe, high-utility release of public datasets; and the basis for more effective use of private datasets while maintaining the commercial incentives for data collection and provision.

The Commission is conscious that the subject matter of this Inquiry is virtually without boundaries. Data is core to the development and delivery of most services, to paid and unpaid activities across the economy, and to better quality public policy.

The Commission encourages interested stakeholders to email advice or submissions to this Inquiry through the website at:

The Productivity Commission will release a draft report later this year, with a final report to be delivered to Government in March 2017.

Background information

Rosalyn Bell (Assistant Commissioner) 02 6240 3308

Leonora Nicol (Media, Publications and Web) 02 6240 3239 / 0417 665 443

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