Media Release: Digital assistants helping people complete claims online

12 October 2017

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

New digital assistants on the Department of Human Services’ website are answering simple questions and helping people complete their claims for family and student payments online so people don’t have to pick up the phone.

Digital assistant ‘Sam’ is one component of the Government’s $1 billion investment in the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program. The department has also developed other assistants ‘Oliver’ and ‘Roxy’ to help recipients and staff.

The aim of the digital assistants is to reduce the number of errors in claims and occasions where people are asked to clarify or provide further information while their claim is being processed.

Since their launch this year, ‘Sam’ has had more than 135,000 conversations with families and students and ‘Oliver’ has handled 191,000 interactions with students.

In addition to recipient facing assistants, ‘Sam’ and ‘Oliver’, processing staff can use ‘Roxy’, who answers complex questions about Student, Carer and Age Pension claims accurately, saving staff from searching through legislation to locate the answer.

Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the creation of digital assistants is another key initiative to help citizens interact with Centrelink more easily and conveniently.  

“We are continually improving the welfare system to make it easier and simpler to interact with Centrelink,” Minister Tudge said.

“The use of digital assistants is a big development using the most sophisticated technology available.

“It means that people can get answers fast online and not have to phone a call centre.

“Along with the 250 new call centre staff and other initiatives, the digital assistants will also help to reduce call wait times by eliminating thousands of calls.”