New online system for Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support


As part of the planned absorption of Medicare and Centrelink into the Department of Human Services, the federal budget has provided a total of $576.2 million over the next four years to upgrade and integrate the agencies’ information technology systems and websites.


Medicare and Centrelink will become part of the Department of Human Services from 1 July 2011, providing the Human Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 comes into effect.


Over the next four years, $373.6 million will be spent on developing a shared gateway for Medicare, Centrelink and the Child Support Agency, with a single secure payment system, a new data recovery centre and a consolidated data management system. Departmental staff will also use a single portal, desktop and email system.


$157.6 million over four years will be spent on developing a system to enable customers to manage their Centrelink, Medicare Australia and Child Support Agency accounts and transactions online. Of this $47.7 million will come from existing resources of the Department of Human Services.


There will also be a single portfolio website and telephone number with $38.7 million allocated over four years for the project.  $9.1 million of this will come from existing resources of the Department of Human Services.


The budget papers state that the Department of Human Services will consult with the newly established Office of the Australian Information Commission so that "customers have adequate levels of control and choice over the use of their information".


Funding of $6.3 million has been allocated to fund an online service that will allow people to lodge their Medicare claims for GP services on the internet, and a further $6.4 million will fund the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to enable the sharing of information with the Department of Human Services via an ICT interface.


The integration of agency ICT systems and the new organisational structure are expected to generate savings of $341.3 million, with further savings of $140.4 million over four years through simplifying and automating online services.