A $313.5 million funding injection will progress the overhaul of Australia’s welfare payment system into delivery mode from January 2017.
350,000 students will be first to benefit from the funding, contained in the 2016–17 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
The Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme began in 2015, with Tranche One primarily focussing on planning and procuring commercial partners to modernise the ageing system which is responsible for delivering $100 billion in payments to millions of people annually.
Over the next 18 months, the programme will move into Tranche Two, where the focus will be on developing new welfare payment processes and services, starting with a revamp of how $3 billion in student payments are administered and delivered each and every year.
Students will be the first to benefit, with the aim to automate processing of some simple claims.
Services will be better tailored to students’ circumstances by drawing on real-time data from the department and third parties to pre-populate forms and reduce the amount of information students have to provide.
Tranche Two will also lay the ground work for the majority of student claims to be completed entirely in the digital channel, without having to call or visit a service centre.
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge said the significant investment reflects the importance of delivering a key national asset for the digital age.
“Tranche Two will build on the strong foundations that are now in place and begin to deliver simplified welfare payments,” Minister Tudge said.
“The automation of claims will mean faster decisions on applications and more time available for staff to support those with higher needs or complex circumstances”.
“The new model for student payments will form a template that will be applied across other welfare payments in future tranches.”
The identification of a Systems Integrator for the next phase of the programme is currently in the final stage of the selection process. SAP has been identified as the preferred Core Software Vendor, subject to commercial negotiations.