Cabinet reshuffle: Access Card project gets new head

New headof Access Card Project
Written by Scott Mckenzie, Contributor

update Former Environment minister Ian Campbell will take over the reins of the controversial Access Card program after the latest Howard Government revamp.

Human services minister Joe Hockey, who until now has been heading the Access Card project, has been appointed Workplace Relations minister.

Campbell will head up the Human Services portfolio which brings under one umbrella six agencies -- Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support Agency, CRS Australia, Australian Hearing and Health Services Australia.

The challenge for Campbell will be overseeing the introduction of the AU$1 billion health and social services access card. The card will replace 17 health and social service cards, including the Medicare card, and will contain personal data such as name, address, and concession status on a chip.

Under Hockey, a request for tender for a systems integrator (for the card) was issued early this month. Tenders will close on 1 March.

The government also expected to issue a second request for tender for card issuance and management this month. Subsequent tenders for network service providers -- which will supply terminals and networks, and IT infrastructure services, would follow from January.

The access card project has been ongoing since it was first confirmed by Hockey and then Senator Eric Abetz, the Special Minister of State, in September 2005. At the time Abetz told ZDNet Australia that the government hoped to have the first cards rolled out in around two years.

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