Bowen to announce Government data reforms

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Bowen to announce Government data reforms

Feds deny plans for another Access Card.

The Federal Minister for Human Services, Chris Bowen, will tomorrow make a speech that outlines reforms to Australia's welfare system expected to be underpinned by a major IT refresh.

While details are still scant, it is widely expected to include an announcement of some level of data sharing between Human Services departments - which includes Centrelink, Medicare, the Child Support Agency, Australian Hearing and CRS Australia.

An article in the West Australian today linked the pending announcement to scuttlebutt suggesting that the Rudd Government plans to implement a "virtual ID" card by centralising the databases across these departments.

The article posed that such a tactic would be a virtual manifestation of the Howard Government's failed attempt at a national ID card - the "Access Card", which in turn was a throwback to the Australia Card attempt of the Hawke-era.

But a media spokesman for Chris Bowen, while confirming that there will be major IT implications arising from Bowen's speech tomorrow, said that there will "be no Virtual ID card."

"That [West Australian] article is incorrect," the spokesman said. "There will be no Virtual ID card. The Government has no plans to create one central database across Government or store all data in one location."

The spokesman did not deny, however, that the announcement will involve some sharing of data between departments within the Human Services portfolio.

Stay tuned to for more on this story.

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