Boston Consulting Group has been handed a $200,000 pay-rise for its work on COVIDSafe, with the development of the controversial contact tracing app now costing more than $2.5 million in private contractor fees alone.
The global consulting giant landed a $484,000 contract with the Digital Transformation Agency in April for a one-month advisory role assisting with the development of the digital contact tracing service.
It had earlier been awarded a $220,000 contract with the Department of Home Affairs for work on the early stages of the same app, which was later handed to the DTA.
It has now been revealed that Boston Consulting Group was handed a $181,500 bonus in early May, with the tender only amended on Tuesday, nearly two months later.
That means BCG was paid $885,500 in total for its work on COVIDSafe, which is still yet to identify a single new case that wasn’t already found by the state and territory manual contact tracers.
The DTA led the development of COVIDSafe after Home Affairs scoped the project in the early days.
DTA chief Randall Brugeaud is an ex-BCG executive, working at the firm for two years from 2008 to 2010, while former DTA chief strategy officer Anthony Vlasic left the agency to join BCG in February.
The development of COVIDSafe has now cost more than $2.5 million in private contractor fees alone, with significantly more likely spent on advertising the service around the country.
Amazon Web Services landed a $165,000 contract with Home Affairs for work on the prototype design before being handed just over $700,000 to work with the DTA and deliver cloud storage for data from the app.
Melbourne tech firm Shine Solutions received $275,000 for “support services” on COVIDSafe, while cybersecurity firm Ionize landed $44,000 for “cyber security services”.
The government and the private contractors opted to utilise the code from Singapore’s contact tracing app and pursue a centralised model for digital contact tracing. This move has since been criticised, with many now urging the government to adapt COVIDSafe so it is compatible with the Google and Apple framework for contact tracing, which is a decentralised model.
Boston Consulting Group is a large government contractor and regularly works with the Department of Home Affairs. The consulting firm offered strategic advice on the doomed visa processing system revamp, raking in nearly $40 million in fees through the project, which was eventually scrapped by the federal government.