by Byron Connolly

Budget 2015: $60.5M for first stage of Centrelink upgrade

May 13, 20152 mins

The Abbott government will provide $60.5 million over the next four years to progress ‘tranche one’ of its $1 billion project to replace its 30-year-old welfare payment system.

Under the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Program, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will progressively rollout a new system to handle Centrelink payments and catch welfare cheats.

The current system delivers around $100 billion in payments to 7.3 million people each year.

During tranche one of the program, DHS will undertake the detailed business planning, scoping and design work required to deliver new system, in addition to delivering four projects to enhance the digital service delivery experience for DHS customers, the government said.

The cost of this measure will be offset from existing resources within the Social Services Portfolio, the government said.

Meanwhile, the government said it would achieve $31.4 million in savings over two years by reforming back-office IT systems. This includes business apps used to manage and integrate transactional business processes within Australian government agencies.

The number of ERP systems will be consolidated to reduce costs from running multiple platforms to deliver more common business processes, the government said.

“A further $12.9 million over two years in savings from the Department of Defence will be reinvested in Defence capability. This will contribute to streamlining the public sector and help ensure resources are deployed efficiently,” Budget papers said.

“The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.”

Gartner’s Asia-Pacific head of research, Ian Bertram, said while there are certainly opportunities to leverage common ERP platforms, the most significant gains here are usually made outside IT itself in areas such as employment, terms and conditions for HR platforms.

“Greater attention should be given to these before assuming that simply choosing an IT solution can act as a panacea for existing problems,” Bertram said.

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