Labor pledges myGov overhaul if it wins federal election

Labor has committed to overhauling the myGov online portal if it wins government later this month.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, in a joint statement with former leader Bill Shorten, has promised a full ‘user audit’ of the myGov website – one that will examine the user experience and reliability.

Services Australia’s ‘one-stop’ online portal myGov is meant to be a central hub for accessing government services including Centrelink, Medicare and the Australian Taxation Office.

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“The user audit will help identify what changes and improvements are needed and assist an Albanese government in strengthening the portal,” the statement reads.

“These moves signal a return to professional, competent and humane delivery of customer services under an Albanese Labor government.”

There have been many complaints over the years that myGov is difficult to use, and results in vulnerable people missing out on payments they are entitled to.

The online portal also controversially crashed in March 2020 when it was overwhelmed by people seeking emergency payments at the start of the pandemic.

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“Millions of Australians interact with myGov every day and rely on it to provide essential services,” Mr Albanese says.

“It’s not up to scratch, and Australians deserve better. That’s why we will review myGov, and make improvements where necessary.”

As well as improving online access to government services, Mr Shorten says Labor is also committing to not closing any more Centrelink offices, and boosting staff numbers.

“Our myGov pledge will help revitalise government service delivery alongside Labor’s existing commitments to stop closing Centrelink shopfronts around the nation and hire an additional 200 new Services Australia workers,” Mr Shorten says.

“This government has a terrible record on service delivery – Labor will change that.”

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Labor’s promise to ‘humanise’ Australia’s welfare system and improve accessibility is a direct response to the Coalition’s infamous robo-debt scheme.

The automated debt collection process began in 2015 and illegally claimed almost $2 billion from pensioners and other welfare recipients, resulting in the largest class action against the federal government ever.

If elected, Labor is promising to hold a full royal commission into the matter. to determine who was responsible for establishing the scheme, how much it cost and the harm caused.

“Against all evidence, and all the outcry, the government insisted on using algorithms instead of people to pursue debt recovery against Australians who, in many cases, had no debt to pay,” Mr Albanese says.

“It caused untold misery.”

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Written by Brad Lockyer

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