Delayed myGov app launches sans Medicare card

The federal government’s long-promised myGov app has finally launched, complete with a new digital wallet offering users the ability to prove their identity with a service provider using a QR code.

But the smartphone app, which was first flagged in 2019 and has taken the last 18 months to develop, is missing key features currently available on older apps operated by Services Australia.

Government Service minister Bill Shorten revealed the new myGov app on Monday, describing it as “another important step forward in the transformation of Australian government digital services”.

Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten getting to know the new myGov app

The app follows the launch of the revamped Adobe-based myGov platform in early September, a largely cosmetic upgrade offering a new layout to help people see their inbox messages and more clearly.

Additional functionality is expected to be added over time, with Minister Shorten flagging the potential to use myGov to nudge people to consider health screening earlier this year, for instance.

Initially developed by US consulting giant Deloitte under a $5.4 million contract that began in July 2021, the myGov app — a brain child of former minister Stuart Robert — has spent the last year in private beta testing mode.

Deloitte has also been heavily involved in the wider myGov redevelopment, having landed contracts worth more than $30 million since scoring the contract to develop a prototype for the new platform.

The new phone app gives users a digital wallet for storing government-issued cards and documents, much like the existing Centrelink and Medicare apps but with added digital verification.

Minister Shorten said the QR code can be scanned by providers to confirm whether the document is “genuine and valid, and means providers do not need to store… personal information”.

“This is a significant step forwards in tackling fraud and theft of these important documents,” he said of the digital wallet.

Centrelink concession cards, Healthcare cards and international Covid-19 vaccination certificate can be added to the myGov wallet immediately, while the Medicare card will arrive in March.

Linked services from the Australia Taxation Office, Medicare and My Health Record also appear to redirect to the web browser, suggesting integration is yet to take place.

With an audit of myGov led by David Thodey ongoing, it is unclear when further integration or additional features will land.

The audit, which will be handed to government before the end of the year, is expected to address the confusion surrounding myGov and the digital identity credential myGovID, according to Labor MP Alicia Payne.

“This audit will clear up the Morrison government’s legacy of confusion and fragmentation in digital service delivery, where they created myGovID, a completely different facility to myGov that was confusing for users,” she said last month.

“The audit will chart a path from this confusion into a world-class service.”

Recent cuts to Services Australia’s contractor workforce will also weigh on future app upgrades, with in excess of 1000 contractors expected to leave the agency over the coming weeks and months.

Other app features include simpler sign-in using a six-digit PIN or in-built fingerprint or face recognition features, as well as other phone native accessibility functions, such as text-to-speech.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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