Centrelink is digitising paper-based forms that have been completed by applicants in an effort to improve the efficiency of its operations.
The Minister for Human Services Chris Bowen, said the agency received more than a million pages of paper forms every day, so digitisation could lead to significant savings.
"Processing, transporting, and storing this volume of paper involves a significant investment of time and resources - therefore any way to streamline how this is done has considerable benefits for Centrelink customers and also for Government," Bowen said in a statement.
According to Centrelink, the first forms were scanned into its system five weeks ago and since that time more than 370,000 pages - or 35,000 forms - for Family Assistance services have already been processed.
The move means forms can be processed from anywhere in the country, which should result in customer-facing staff having more time to deal directly with applicants.
"Instantly, staff from anywhere in the country can then immediately carry out processing work via a virtual ‘back-office'. This frees up the front-of-house Centrelink staff member who received the paperwork to devote more time to helping customers face to face," said Bowen.
The system was still in its infancy, with just two of the organisation's 400-plus forms currently being digitised.
The digitisation effort will be ramped up now that all 316 Centrelink offices have been upgraded to handle the new system.