Centrelink is to get a major IT upgrade worth $312 million over the next five years, according to plans announced by the Federal Government’s Department for Family and Community Services.
A steering committee is expected to be formed this week to establish how the project will be rolled out in terms of timeframe and budget but, according to a government spokesman, the work is unlikely to be put out to tender until 2004.
The four-stage project will look to make the existing Centrelink mainframe more robust, create portals to improve access to information, modernise operational procedure with the introduction of workflow programs and staff training initiatives as well as introducing business intelligence to maximise efficiency.
The committee will seek input from the IT sector.
It is expected to appoint “an independent expert who is IT literate and can talk business in plain English”, the spokesperson said.
The aim of the IT refresh is to provide Centrelink customers, businesses, community groups and other government agencies with greater and speedier access to data.
The new system, based on the model of Internet and telephone banking, will allow customers to remotely access and update personal details as well as checking payment details from home. This will make it easier for customers living in remote regions to deal with Centrelink.
The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said Centrelink would take a value for money approach to sourcing and procurement.
Australian SMEs would be encouraged to bid for work where they could add value.
“This could include arrangements where they work as a member of a consortium or in partnership with a major provider,” she said.