Labor has promised a user audit of myGov if it wins the election, pledging to make necessary improvements to the “not up to scratch” digital portal and to retain user data in Australia.
An “enhanced” version of myGov is currently in a beta stage after more than two years work and $80 million in outsourcing. But the beta offers only limited features, with the version myGov launched in 2013 still the primary way for Australians to access government services online.
The ageing system has struggled at times, including significant downtime in 2020 when an unprecedented number of users sought assistance during the pandemic. The crash was incorrectly blamed on hackers by then-Government Services Minister Stuart Robert, who later apologised for the claim.
On Saturday Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten announced a user audit of MyGov should Labor win the upcoming election.
The audit would examine the performance of myGov in terms of servicing the Australian public, including its “reliability and functionality for a user-friendly experience”, according to a joint statement.
“The user audit will help identify what changes and improvements are needed and assist an Albanese Government in strengthening the portal,” Mr Albanese and Mr Shorten said.
“Labor will also guarantee myGov user data is retained within Australia.”
Mr Albanese said the platform was not performing at a level needed for something millions of Australians rely on each day.
“It’s not up to scratch, and Australians deserve better. That’s why we will review myGov, and make improvements where necessary,” he said.
Last year the Coalition announced $200 million in dedicated funding for the myGov platform as part of the government’s Digital Economy Strategy. It followed work on myGov enhancements which began early 2020.
US consulting giant Deloitte has been involved with the myGov redevelopment since the very beginning, with the consulting giant landing a near-$1 million contract at the start of 2020 to develop a prototype for the new platform as part of a 90-day sprint.
It was then awarded a contract eventually worth more than $30 million to transform this prototype into a working beta, before being added to the contractor panel and receiving a number of further contracts.
Services Australia established a four-company Systems Integrator Panel last year after it took control of the myGov project from the Digital Transformation Agency.
The panel members are Deloitte, Accenture, IBM and Arq Group. The companies were paid a total of $10 million last year for work on myGov.
Outside of the panel, Adobe has also landed a $32 million deal to provide the “core technology components” to underpin the new myGov.
The department is also preparing to imminently launch a new myGov smartphone app, for which Deloitte has been paid $5.5 million.
Labor’s plan to revaluate and potentially change the direction of myGov is part of Labor’s election commitment to improve service delivery, Mr Shorten said.
“Our MyGov pledge will help revitalise government service delivery alongside Labor’s existing commitments to stop closing Centrelink shopfronts around the nation and hire an additional 200 new Services Australia workers. This Government has a terrible record on service delivery – Labor will change that,” he said.
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