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Integrity of Medicare customer data under threat as Government fails to implement key audit recommendation



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SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

INTEGRITY OF MEDICARE CUSTOMER DATA UNDER THREAT AS GOVERNMENT FAILS TO IMPLEMENT KEY AUDIT RECOMMENDATION

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to ensure that the Department of Human Services (DHS) has complied with all recommendations of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report into the integrity of Medicare Customer Data.

Human Services Minister Stuart Robert was forced into the embarrassing admission in an overdue answer to a Senate Estimates question from Senator Cameron.

The ANAO report was presented to Parliament on April 24, 2014 and the recommendations were accepted by DHS prior to publication of the report on April 9, 2014.

Recommendation 5, which related to compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Information Security Manual, has not been fully implemented.

This latest revelation comes amid ongoing controversy around the Government’s mishandling of the Medicare identity theft issue, where at least 369 reports of alleged identity theft have been made.

It is still unclear if people who have potentially had their identity stolen have been informed by DHS, nor if the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been informed of each breach of privacy.

The security of Medicare customer data is paramount and Minister Robert must take immediate steps to ensure compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Information Security Manual.

The public must have confidence that their identities and medical transactions are secure and confidential.

Revelations of the failure to implement the Integrity of Medicare Customer Data audit are deeply concerning in light of the ongoing issues to do with identity theft.

The Minister has done nothing that would restore confidence and trust in the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s capacity to secure the identities of Australian citizens.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has been too busy conducting internal battles for the leadership instead of protecting the integrity of the systems and processes that ensure citizens can have confidence that their personal and banking details are protected.

The previous Minister was asleep at the wheel for almost two years and it looks like the current Minister is continuing this Coalition tradition.

The Minister should answer immediately the additional questions about whether the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been informed about privacy breaches.

Labor demands that the commitments given by DHS to comply with the ANAO recommendations are implemented immediately and that the Minister advises Parliament why he has failed to ensure the ANAO recommendations were implemented.

SUNDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: LUKE WHITINGTON 0422 265 775