More than half of all Centrelink transactions are now done online, new figures have shown.
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More than four million adults are now registered online with the Department of Human Services and on a year-on-year basis online transactions are growing between 20 and 30 per cent and higher.
Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr said the growth in online use was due to Australia's “digital by design” approach, and specifically pointed to the release of four top-rating smartphone apps.
“Sure, it's an approach that provides cost benefits to Government, but it also provides huge cost benefits in time and convenience for the public,” Senator Carr said.
“That gives us more time to spend face-to-face helping people with more complex issues.”
He said the Department was continuing to invest in new online technologies.
“We're developing an online Newstart Allowance Claim and the Department of Human Services and the Australian Taxation Office are taking part in a proof-of-concept trial with Australia Post of a Digital Mailbox to see how it can be used to communicate with Australians about government services,” he said.
“"The latest round of upgrades to the Express Plus apps enables citizens to upload documents to the Department, including proof of birth documentation.
“We will continue to take advantage of smartphone technology, offering people of all ages the opportunity to connect in the comfort of their own home.”
Senator Carr said some countries – such as the UK – had a “digital by default” strategy which started with the needs of government.
“Their focus is cutting costs, but it's the people who get cut off – disadvantaged citizens who need the service most,” he said.
“If you want to transact online, build an online service they actually want to use.
“But never forget the people you may leave behind – and never ignore the ‘human’ in human services.”
Senator Carr said a successful online strategy also meant the Government must continue to invest in its own ICT infrastructure and continue to develop more accessible and comprehensive online services.
Edition 349, 19 February 2013