The Australian Government passed legislation on 1 August 2019 to provide new rights for consumers and small businesses to their data from July 2019. The Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2019 (Cth) provides a new “Consumer Data Right” (CDR), which will have a major impact particularly on the banking sector.

Consumers in Australia traditionally have had weak rights to access the data held by businesses about them as often requests to access are rejected as businesses think that is the best way to minimise risk to the business.

The new regime is planned to give customers more control and choice over data held about them. The Government considers that this will promote competition and innovation in the affected sectors as customers will be able to change their suppliers more easily if they can direct their current supplier to provide their data to other suppliers or comparison services.

There has been a vast increase in complaints about financial services, and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority was formed to replace a number of Ombudsmen and other agencies to address these. Springdale has represented clients here, particularly in relation to unconscionable lending. The ability to access information, and possibly moreso the increased focus that banks will have on keeping accurate information, will make these claims easier to pursue. If a financial institution, super fund etc has acted poorly in your view, consult a lawyer to ascertain your rights.