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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - DIGITAL MEDICARE PROGRAM ON THE BRINK

THE HON PAUL FLETCHER MP

Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy

Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts

Manager of Opposition Business in the House

 

SENATOR THE HON ANNE RUSTON

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care

Shadow Minister for Sport

Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

 

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday, 6 February 2024

DIGITAL MEDICARE PROGRAM ON THE BRINK

 

 

The Albanese Labor Government’s mismanagement of digital transformation continues, with new revelations that a vital Medicare project has been flailing for months.

The Health Delivery Modernisation Program is a multi-year fund that is overhauling Australia’s legacy health payment systems and investing in new digital health services.

The former Coalition Government invested over $100 million in the vital Program, which led to a range of improvements for patients and health organisations, such as reducing the processing times for the aged care annual and lifetime fee caps process from 50 minutes to an average of 5 minutes.

Information obtained by the Opposition via Senate Estimates shows that the ICT component Services Australia is delivering in partnership with the Department of Health was in ‘Red’ status since December 2022, despite being in ‘Green’ status in July 2022.

Shadow Minister for Government Services Paul Fletcher said the revelations were deeply concerning.

“It remains unclear why this important ICT project has been allowed to perform so poorly against its internal KPIs,” Mr Fletcher said.

“We can’t afford to see another important digital government project collapse under Labor with no explanation as to what remediation work has been carried out.

“Since the former Coalition Government first launched the Program in 2016, the many digital upgrades to Medicare have benefited healthcare professionals and patients alike, and we must keep pace with new and emerging technology trends to remain ahead of the game.

“Australians overwhelmingly choose to interact with government digitally: in 2022-23, there were over 458 million Medicare services accessed digitally via Services Australia. Labor clearly hasn’t read the room and is continuing its digital drift.

“We’ve just experienced an unprecedented pandemic, so there should be a strong focus on supporting the underlying digital health infrastructure that Australians rely on.

“It is deeply troubling that the status of the Program was hidden from Services Australia’s latest Corporate Plan.”

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care Anne Ruston said that it is incredibly disappointing that the Albanese Labor Government continues to make it harder for Australians to access critical healthcare services.

“This government is all talk and no action when it comes to pursuing tangible action that will actually make it easier and more affordable for Australian patients and health professionals,” Senator Ruston said.

“At a time when we are seeing a primary healthcare crisis emerge under Labor and our hospital systems are facing serious pressures, the last thing the Government should be doing is dropping the ball on supporting our digital health systems.”

 

Media contact: William Sparling | 0416 628 276 | [email protected]