Submissions 2021

ALC Submission to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Australian Data Strategy discussion paper

August 2021

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Australian Data Strategy discussion paper (the Discussion Paper).

ALC is the peak national body representing major companies participating in the freight logistics industry. ALC’s policy focus is on delivering enhanced supply chain efficiency and safety.

Freight affects every Australian, every day, everywhere. Common goods purchased by Australians such as food, clothing, household appliances and medicine all need to be transported by freight operators.

Similarly, the freight supply chain provides the materials to build and operate critical community infrastructure – roads, hospitals and schools – which are fundamental to our society.

An inefficient and unproductive national supply chain can ultimately result in lost export income, reduced employment, higher consumer prices and Australia becoming less competitive in the global market.

ALC particularly agrees with the observation on page 2 of the Discussion Paper that:

Australia must build on its baseline data policies and setting to further grow the economy, deliver better services, programs and outcomes for Australians, conduct quality research and ensure data is used in Australia and overseas securely and safely.

For this reason, ALC has championed the development of the National Freight Data Hub, referred to in Schedule 1 to the discussion paper and which forms an integral output of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

ALC members are on the National Freight Data Hub Industry Advisory Panel (the advisory panel).

ALC has also developed A Single Freight Data Standard for the National Digital Framework[1], which is a common set of data standards designed to permit interoperability and multimodal communication capability, solving a need identified in the first annual report of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.[2]

Participation on the advisory panel and advocating for the single freight data standard are the principal ways in which ALC interacts with the Strategy.

We would particularly welcome a discussion with the Department as to how the single freight data standard can assist government in delivering its data policy goals.

As a general proposition the Strategy is dealing with the right issues, although ALC members have observed that 2025 may be too short a time frame to enable long-term planning of data issues.

There is also a reluctance by many firms to share data that can be used for better decision making and thus to the benefit of industry, the public sector and the broader community.

To facilitate greater industry participation in data sharing, members have identified as areas as matters for conversation:

  • identifying the type of entity that could act as custodian of data provided by industry and stored in a data hub
  • the standards (including security standards) under which the stored data would be kept
  • how to manage the various permissions granted by particular industry participants as to the manner in which data owned by the participant may be used – particularly government
  • developing a data deidentification process, which can lessen commercial sensitivity for companies to provide data to government and others
  • how to avoid or minimise the burden on private sector entities in collecting, disseminating and sharing data
  • how privacy concerns may be managed
  • encouraging development of data exchange processes to facilitate the transfer of information between industry participants and others
  • examining how Australia can align with international trends and developments. Compatibility is the key as Australia is too small a market for an effective standalone digital ecosystem. Australia should avoid protectionism and seek to enshrine open cross-border digital trade in its future bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements.

A forum should therefore be established as part of the Strategy to allow these matters to be canvassed with the aim of encouraging the one major thing ALC members hope to achieve from the Data Strategy – improved use of existing data in a manner facilitating the productivity and efficiency of the Australian freight and supply chain.

ALC is grateful for this opportunity to provide a submission to Australian Data Security Discussion Paper.

If you require any additional information, please contact Rachel Smith, Director – Policy and Advocacy on 0433 569 301, or via email to policy@austlogistics.com.au.

 

Yours sincerely

Brad Williams

Chief Executive Officer

 

[1] https://www.austlogistics.com.au/policy-advocacy/singlefreightdatastandard/

[2] https://www.freightaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/national-freight-and-supply-chain-strategy.pdf

Read more about our submission below: