Feds confirm smart card, Centrelink spend

Feds confirm smart card, Centrelink spend

Summary: The federal government this evening confirmed it had allocated AU$1.09 billion over four years to a controversial health and welfare access card scheme, which a private consultant said would save AU$3 billion over 10 years.

SHARE:
The federal government this evening confirmed it had allocated AU$1.09 billion over four years to a controversial health and welfare access card scheme, which a private consultant said would save AU$3 billion over 10 years.

In 2006/07 budget documents, released tonight, the government said current systems would remain in place until early 2010, after which anyone wishing to interact with agencies would have to obtain a card.

The government's campaign to win public acceptance for the card -- which will be phased in from 2008 -- suffered a blow this week when the head of the taskforce charged with devising a plan for it resigned. James Kelaher is reported to have recommended funding for the project be taken outside the department and that an external advisory board keep a check on privacy matters.

The card is slated to replace 17 existing health and welfare cards and vouchers, with individuals only needing to register once rather than several times with multiple health and social service agencies.

The government said it would improve data across those agencies and help identify and eliminate fraud affecting its AU$92 billion annual spend on health and social services benefits. KPMG reviewed the card plan and came up with the savings figure.

In a statement, Joe Hockey, Minister for Human Services, said the card would include the holders' name, a digital photograph, signature and card number, while a microchip on the card would store details such as date of birth, address and details of children and other dependants.

Peter Costello, Budget 2006/06 He gave little away, however, about security arrangements governing the card and associated registration database, saying "information held on the access card will only be accessible by authorised people".

Hockey also announced an additional AU$115 million over two years to boost Centrelink's call centre capabilities, saying demand had increased by 12 percent per year over the last four years. Centrelink was now trying to handle 22 million calls per annum.

A significant proportion of the funding would go to enhancing phone voice recognition services, with an additional 25 percent of customers expected to use the option by the end of 2007-08.

Topics: Government, Big Data, Data Management, Emerging Tech, Government AU, Privacy, Security, Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Feds confirm smart card, Centrelink spend

    Can someone list the 17 cards to be replaced by this uber card?
    swiftmac
  • REDUNDANT: THE CARDS TO BE REPLACED

    REDUNDANT: THE CARDS TO BE REPLACED The new "smartcard" will replace the following 17 health and welfare cards
    ,Medicare card
    ,Medicare Reciprocal Health Care card
    ,Australian Organ Donor Registration card
    ,PBS Safety Net Entitlement card, PBS Safety Net Concession card
    ,Cleft lip and palate card
    ,Centrelink Pensioner Concession card
    ,Centrelink Healthcare card
    ,Centrelink Foster Child Care card
    ,Centrelink Low Income Healthcare card
    ,Centrelink Seniors card
    ,Centrelink Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
    ,DVA Gold Repatriation Health card
    ,DVA White Repatriation Health card
    ,DVA Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits (orange) card
    ,War Widow Concession card
    ,Office of Hearing Services (OHS) voucher
    murphy_darren9