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Smartcard: Kelaher resignation shows implementation in disarray.

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Kelvin Thomson MP

Shadow Minister for Public Accountability Shadow Minister for Human Services Federal Member for Wills


9 May 2006

Smartcard: Kelaher Resignation Shows Implementation in Disarray

The Government is set to allocate $1 Billion tonight to a project which has not been thought through and about which fundamental questions are unresolved or hotly contested.

The resignation of the head of the Smartcard Technology Taskforce, Mr James Kelaher, shows that the project is in disarray on two fundamental issues: cost and privacy.

Mr Kelaher says the Government should be establishing a specific entity to deliver the Smartcard, rather than handing money over to Centrelink and Medicare.

It is clear that if these agencies don’t have the skills necessary to deliver the project, as Mr Kelaher suggests, it will suffer from cost blow-outs like so many Government IT projects before it.

Secondly, the Government is ignoring KPMG and Mr James Kelaher’s recommendation for a privacy and security Advisory Board of external experts and stakeholders.

Australians are rightly concerned about privacy issues - the risks from bureaucrats mishandling information, interference by hackers, or through identity theft are not trivial and need to be thoroughly explored.

The Government’s dismissal of the external advice body on privacy issues will do nothing to build the public trust, which is absolutely essential if Smartcard is not to become an expensive failure.

09/05/2006 Contact: Kelvin Thomson 0419 594 882 Martin Callinan 0400 006 311