[LINK] Ellison gets smartcard keys

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Mar 6 14:29:03 AEDT 2007

Ellison gets smartcard keys
Karen Dearne and Ben Woodhead
MARCH 06, 2007 
The Australian

The minister who presided over Customs' disastrous cargo system re-engineering project has been handed the keys to the controversial Access Card project as part of a ministerial reshuffle.

Prime Minister John Howard today announced that Senator Chris Ellison will replace Senator Ian Campbell as federal Minister for Human Services.

Senator Campbell resigned earlier this week after revelations he met with disgraced former Western Australia premier, Brian Burke.

West Australian Senator David Johnston has been promoted to the ministry in the Justice and Customs portfolio, which is still dealing with the fallout from the Cargo Systems Re-engineering fiasco.

The project cost more than $200 million, is not yet fully operational and is the subject of ongoing compensation claims.

The now-infamous project caused havoc at Australian wharves and airports. Notably, the project's Integrated Cargo System component failed spectacularly on its introduction to service in October 2005.

Senator Ellison pitched the ICS as a "leading edge for Customs", but brokers said the system had cost them time and money. Millions of dollars in compensation claims are yet to be finalised.

The whole project blew out by more than 600 per cent, from an initial estimate of $30 million, to over $210 million, and a woeful list of failures was documented in an Australian National Audit Office review published in January.

The ANAO found there were 13 contracts with four suppliers - Electronic Data Systems, Computer Associates, IBM and SecureNet - and 65 variations to those contracts, but few records of the decisions.

It lashed Customs over the lack of documentation for spending, poor implementation and inadequate testing, and the failure to test third-party software for quality assurance.

The proposed Access Card is the largest IT project ever to be undertaken by the Australian Government - a $1.1 billion program to link key health and welfare agencies and issue smartcards to more than 16 million people by 2010.

The enabling legislation has been under sustained attack this week at Senate inquiry hearings in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra over privacy, technology and legal concerns.

Senator Ellison is the third Human Services Minister to hold the reins, following the weekend departure of Senator Campbell.

Privacy lobbyists regard Senator Ellison's credentials with suspicion - the Australian Privacy Foundation last year nominated him as the Worst Public Official in its annual Big Brother awards for the "Abolition of Financial Privacy legislation, masquerading as the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Bill."

"This legislation turns thousands of bank tellers and other employees into amateur spies – with a legal obligation to report anyone who may be ‘acting suspiciously’," APF judges said.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au


More information about the Link mailing list