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Submission to the DISR: Safe and responsible AI in Australia

August 2023


Consumers in Australia need strong protections from the use of artificial intelligence (AI). While AI has the potential to provide benefits to the community, people are also exposed to the harms of poorly-regulated AI systems. AI systems, some of which are operated by the most powerful technology firms in the world, affect many aspects of consumers' lives. Consumers have already experienced a number of harms arising from AI systems.

Businesses that use AI should not be trusted to regulate themselves. Strong laws, enforced by well-resourced regulators are needed to promote the responsible use of AI and protect consumers from further harm. 

In order to promote and establish safe and responsible AI use in Australia, the Federal Government should:

  1. introduce economy-wide legislation to regulate the use of AI in Australia.
  2. develop a risk-based framework as part of the AI legislation. This framework would allow the use of AI to be classified according to the level of risk, with legal restrictions and prohibitions on high-risk uses of AI.
  3. legislate key consumer rights in the AI legislation.
  4. legislate a clear, fair and commonly accepted definition of AI.
  5. strengthen existing laws to address sector-specific risks of AI.
  6. establish an AI Commissioner, with adequate resources and a full range of regulatory powers, including criminal and civil penalty powers.
  7. legislate powers for the AI Commissioner to intervene in the market when there is significant consumer detriment.
  8. establish a digital ombudsman with the power to determine complaints where consumers have been harmed online, including by AI systems. 

This consultation comes at a critical time, as Australia risks lagging behind international developments in the regulation of AI. The Federal Government has an opportunity to create an enduring regulatory framework to ensure the safe and fair use of AI in Australia. Further detail on our recommendations can be found in our full submission linked on this page.

Download the report (PDF)

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