The Albanese government has committed $134.5 million to give myGov “certainty and stability” for another 12 months while it considers the longer-term funding needs of the platform in the wake of an independent audit earlier this year.
A further $26.9 million has also set aside to continue work on the federal government’s Digital ID system, with long-awaited legislation expected to be introduced to Parliament in the second half of this year.
The 2023 federal Budget, unveiled by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night, reveals $134.5 million to “sustain myGov” over the next year, including the newly redeveloped platform built on Adobe software.
It represents the first funding for the platform since the former Coalition government set aside $200 million for the platform in 2021-22, at least $80 million of which was spent on the upgrade led by Deloitte.
While the government has not committed the long-term ongoing funding recommended by an independent audit of the platform earlier this year, budget documents indicate ongoing funding has been provisioned in the Contingency Reserve.
“This funding will consolidate our investment in myGov as the government continues to formalise and prioritise next steps from the audit in the coming months,” The government has provisioned ongoing funding for myGov,” Government service minister Bill Shorten said.
“The investment in myGov ensures there is lasting certainty and stability for this essential government services as we formalised next steps.”
An independent audit of myGov led by former CSIRO chair David Thodey in January urged the government to commit long-term ongoing funding of more than $100 million a year to “Fulfil its potential”.
The audit found that the $200 million upgrade between 2020-2022 “put in place much needed building blocks of a better myGov” but said that the changes “fall well short of the long-express vision of providing a primary digital front door to government”.
It also recommended a ‘myGov Development Fund’ modelled on the NSW government’s Digital Restart Fund to raise funds from agencies that use the platform, but no such initiative was contained in Tuesday’s Budget. A ‘Digital Readiness Fund’ was also being considered ahead of the Budget.
Services Australia will use the immediate funding to “continue to securely support over 25 million accounts and connect Australians to 15 government services”, as well as maintain “streamlined and secure digital credentials”, such as the digital Medicare card launched last month.
The new funding will be partially met from existing resources and offset by continuing to charge the Australian Taxation Office and Department of Employment and Workplace Relations for use of the platform.
The government has also committed $26.9 million to “develop the stage of the Digital ID program”, which will mostly be used by the Department of Finance and the Digital Transformation Agency to maintain the current Digital ID system and design “policy and legislative foundations”.
Just over $1 million will be used by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – which will also receive $44.3 million to support a standalone Privacy Commissioner – to “provide ongoing privacy assistance for the Digital ID program”.
Another $1 million will be used by the Australian Taxation Office for “communications research associated with the myGovID brand”. The myGovID brand was described as “difficult to differentiate from myGov itself” in the myGov audit.
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