Centrelink wait times and frustrations set to be a thing of the past?

The system that delivers government payments and services to millions of Australians – MyGov – will receive a major injection of funds in Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the revamp – part of a $1.2 billion digital economy strategy – on Thursday.

About $200 million will be invested in myGov to support changes the government says will make it easier for people to manage payments and claims, and find services.

As part of the revamp, a new digital assistant will be created to answer questions, potentially saving Australians from waiting on hold with their queries. The government says the time saved will generate benefits across the economy worth an estimated $3.6 billion over a decade.

Mr Morrison said the digital transformation “needs to happen” because it is under way around the world.

“We must keep our foot on the digital accelerator to secure our economic recovery from COVID-19,” he said.

Read more: Centrelink wait times tipped to blow out post JobKeeper

Funds will also be allocated for an expansion of the My Health Record site. More than $301 million will deliver what the government says is the “next wave” of My Health Record.

The system, which has 23 million registered users and was met with resistance when it was extended in 2018-19 due to privacy fears, contains summaries of Australians’ health information and is managed by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Some of the My Health Record allocation will assist with the COVID vaccination rollout, such as sending people alerts when vaccinations are due.

The funds will also be directed at driving a digital transformation of the troubled aged care sector so it can link with My Health Record. The goal is to deliver safer and more efficient transitions between aged care and hospitals and other health facilities.

Read more: My Health Record: How does it work?

In other Budget news, the government will invest $111.3 million to support the Consumer Data Right (CDR) rollout in sectors such as banking and energy. The program was announced in 2017 to help consumers control personal information gathered by big companies, and sharpen price and service competition between providers.

The total $1.2 billion digital allocation adds to the $1 billion announced in last October’s delayed Budget and to a $1.7 billion cyber security strategy unveiled last year.

Cyber security is under mounting pressure, with Scamwatch, an arm of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), reporting that in March alone, Australians lost $2,091,239 to scammers.

The latest warning relates to a myGov scam that informs users they are eligible to receive a tax refund.

“As a result of examination, we have made adjustments to your income tax return for the tax year 2020/21. Therefore, you are eligible to receive a refund of $181.79,” the email reads.

“To protect you from identity theft, we need to verify your identity before we process the return and issue a refund.

“Please complete the identity verification process below to avoid delays in processing.”

Scamwatch says: “Don’t click on any links and always type the website URL directly into your browser.”

Are you a confident user of myGov? Do you believe the extra funds will make the system more streamlined? Have you used My Health Record?

Read more: Beware these COVID vaccine scams

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Written by Janelle Ward



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