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Hockey must answer growing list of Smartcard concerns.



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Kelvin Thomson MP

Shadow Minister for Public Accountability Shadow Minister for Human Services

17 May 2006 (48/06)

Hockey must answer growing list of Smartcard concerns

"Minister Hockey has to address the growing list of fears and concerns held by industry experts and public advocates about Smartcard cost blowouts and privacy", Federal Shadow Minister for Human Services, Kelvin Thomson said today.

“It seems that with every day that passes, another industry expert raises serious concerns about the Smartcard project, and every day that passes the Government continues to ignore them.

“Minister Hockey must realise that charging ahead without public consultation and without listening to the experts is a recipe for disaster.

"The former head of the Smartcard Technology Taskforce, James Kelaher, resigned because he did not want to be part of the smartcard disaster, and he spoke to the media to warn Australians of the impending disaster,” Mr Thomson said.

Newly raised concerns include:

Cost • Siemens Vice President, Martin Praetorius, with more than 20 years experience working with Smartcard technology, telling an e-Government forum last week that the $1.1 billion budget could be easily by tripled

because: “The complexity of the project is greatly underestimated”.

Privacy • British e-Government expert William Heath telling the same forum that a single identifier card could actually increase rather than decrease the instance of fraud as: “It is an extremely courageous step to put all your

identification, all the different departments, on to one identifier.”

• Fraudster, Frank Abagnale, the real life criminal behind Catch Me if You Can, telling BBC radio that the UK ID card would be replicated within six months.

• The Victorian Privacy Commissioner, Paul Chadwick, drafting a list of 20 questions for the: “public to ask persistently and for governments to answer satisfactorily.”

“Minster Hockey must start responding to these serious public and industry concerns this week. The public cannot afford more major project budget blowouts, nor can we afford to have our privacy compromised," Mr Thomson said.

Media Contact: Kelvin Thomson: 0419 594 882

Patrick Pantano: 0403 502 071