Scott Morrison hints at open data green light to boost banking competition
Treasurer Scott Morrison has hinted strongly that the government will give banking customers power over their own data so they can shop around for a better deal from other financial institutions.
The change could be announced as early as budget night on Tuesday, at the same time the Treasurer launches a Productivity Commission inquiry into the State of Competition in the Australian Financial System, a process which could lead to sweeping change.
There has already been a Productivity Commission inquiry into so-called open data and the government has the final report. The interim report on “data use and availability” sent to the government on March 31 called for customers to be granted a “comprehensive right” to their data held by corporations or governments. In the context of financial services, this would empower customers to ask their bank to send transaction and other account data to a competitor, who could use it to price alternative financial services to lift competition. A similar regime is being established in Britain.
In a pre-budget interview, Mr Morrison told The Australian Financial Review that improving competition in the banking sector fitted the theme of the budget which is to put consumers first and help them with the cost of living and other pressures in an environment of low wages growth.
“One of the things we want to see achieved, and I’ll have a bit more to say about this in the budget, is improved competitiveness in the banking system to ensure than banking customers get the best deal,” he said.
“You’ve got the open data inquiry from the Productivity Commission and the government will have a bit more to say about that. That is another area that provides opportunity for consumers, greater control over their own information, that empowers them in the banking and financial system.
“Open data does have real potential to benefit banking customers and not just banking customers.”
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