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Senate Committee inquiry into Access Card.
SENATE COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO ACCESS CARD
15 March 2007
The Minister for Human Services, Senator Chris Ellison, said the clear message from today’s report of the Senate committee inquiring into the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill was strong support for the aims of the access card to make it easier to deal with government agencies, reduce fraud and replace a range of existing cards.
Senator Ellison said that it had been the Government’s intention to introduce the legislation in two parts. The first part is to establish the framework for the access card and the second would cover remaining aspects of the access card system including privacy and security safeguards.
Senator Ellison said the Senate committee’s recommendation to combine the first and second pieces of legislation for concurrent consideration had merit, and on examination of the committee’s report he agreed with this approach.
“Bringing both tranches of legislation together allows members of the public and other stakeholders to see the full detail of the access card at the same time and help dispel some of the misconceptions about the access card,” Senator Ellison said.
Senator Ellison was confident concerns raised by the Senate inquiry could be addressed.
“The access card offers considerable benefits and it is important the Government delivers on its objective of providing Australians with a modern, convenient and secure way of delivering health and social services,” Senator Ellison said.
Senator Ellison said there was common ground on the importance of strengthening protections against fraud and misuse of health and social services entitlements and the access card was designed to strike the right balance between greater convenience for users, protection of individual privacy and the prevention of abuse of entitlements.
Senator Ellison said he is keen to continue the process of consultation over the access card and will be arranging a series of roundtable discussions with interested groups to hear their views first hand.
“The Government remains committed to having the legislation passed this year and ensuring the access card project delivers benefits for Australians who use health, veterans and social services - and those Australians who fund the provisions of those services,” Senator Ellison said.
Media contact: Matt Francis 0406 052 038
M E D I A R E L E A S E