The Federal government calls it a ‘Human Services Access Card’

We call it for what it is: a National ID Card System

Frequently Asked Question No. 4

What will it cost?

We’re flying blind here, because the Government refuses to provide the public with a lot of the key information.

The Government has gained from Parliament an appropriation of in excess of $1 billion over the period 2006-10. That will pay for consultants and contractors, buy equipment, software and cards, and fund changes to systems at each of the government agencies. It will also sustain so-called ‘policy agencies’ and policy branches within service-provider agencies, which need new projects to be funded each year or risk being disestablished.

That’s a vast amount of money; but it’s only part of the story.

There will be substantial costs for all organisations that are required to use the card. This involves the entire health care sector, as it is forced to buy equipment, buy new versions of software, and change their business processes. That won’t come out of the Commonwealth’s $1 billion. It will come out of each organisation’s own budget, i.e. from State taxes and health-care consumers.

Organisations that grant concessions (including every public transport outlet, and all Councils and cinemas) will need to install equipment in order to be able to read the card and confirm entitlement to discounts. Previously this has been so simple as to be almost costless, because the cashier merely had to glance at the card in the applicant’s hand, and (occasionally, when suspicious) ask for it to be handed over, so that they could visually inspect it.

There will also be dislocation caused to every employer in the country because of the time that staff will need to take off work to attend interviews.

Individuals will also face substantial costs, because of the need to gather documents, travel for interviews, and take time off work (which some employers may pay, but many will not).

If you are aware of errors or omissions in this document, please let us know.

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