The federal government has handed the Department of Human Services another $316.2 million to progress its massive Centrelink payments system overhaul to the next stage.
The new funding will see the continuation of the welfare payments infrastructure transformation (WPIT) program, bringing total allocations to almost $600 million since the program's inception in 2015.
To date, the project has been focused on reforming student payments and developing core system capabilities.
The new funding, provided over the next four years, will go towards the third tranche of the program, which is concerned with “transform[ing] the delivery of payments to jobseekers, older Australians, carers and people with disabilities”.
In 2018-19 budget documents, the government said this would be done “by implementing more efficient and automated claims, assessment and payment processes”.
The new funding is the largest chunk to be handed out for the multi-year program to date.
Tranche two - which delivered technical changes to the Centrelink back-end - received $313.5 million in the 2016 mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, on top of an initial $60.5 million provided for design and procurement phase.
But last December the government said it was expecting to shave $103.7 million off the $374 million cost to date of tranche two by using “existing commercially available software” and accelerating the implementation of three unspecified projects.
The total WPIT project was first envisioned to cost $1.5 billion over its life.
Accenture won the first bundle of work under the WPIT program in March 2017, which covers systems integration, rollout of an initial module of SAP software, and migrating student payments.
A panel consisting of HP, IBM, Capgemini and Accenture has been created to support the program across subsequent phases.
A planned fourth stage of the program will see family payments migrated, followed by seniors, pensioner and other remaining payments.