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Auditor-General to probe Access Card.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA WEDNESDAY JULY 4 2007

SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS PRIVACY SPOKESPERSON

AUDITOR-GENERAL TO PROBE ACCESS CARD

The Australian Democrats welcome the Australian National Audit Office’s announcement of a potential audit of the major procurements for the billion dollar Access Card initiative during this financial year.

"In the next couple of months it is likely that the Minister and his Department will face some serious probing into the worth of this project," Democrats' Privacy Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"Investigations by the Auditor-General are not done lightly and should be seen in the context of a failure by the Government to properly detail the breakdown of spending on the Access Card, and angry smart card bidders’ claims that the tender process is costing them money.

"The Australian Democrats have long held serious concerns about the governance, management, privacy and accountability of this proposal.

"We welcome external scrutiny of Department of Human Services' administration of what potentially amounts to the single biggest invasion of privacy in our history," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260