Centrelink IT system set for AU$1b scrapping

Australian Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison has said that the country's antiquated Centrelink IT system will be scrapped after being left to 'whither' for years.

Australia's antiquated Centrelink computer system is set to be scrapped at a cost of AU$1 billion because of concerns that it won't cope with a planned overhaul of the welfare system.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said that when the system was introduced in the 1980s, about 2.5 million people received payments.

Now, there are about 10 million welfare recipients, with AU$400 million spent on 50 million transactions every day.

"This is a system that still has manual processing attached to it, and it's been left to basically wither for many years," Morrison told Sky News. "It's time for it to get some serious attention."

Morrison said the system is stable but inefficient, and the government would immediately save money if it is replaced.

"The system we're working off was developed in the '80s at a time when frankly, the internet and things like ... smartphones and so on were dreams," he said.

Labor backed the push to replace the Centrelink computer system.

"The case ... has been pretty strongly made that this system is groaning under the weight of what's being demanded of it," Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh told Sky News.