[LINK] Smart cards off Labor agenda

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Jun 12 18:04:38 AEST 2008

Smart cards off Labor agenda
Karen Dearne
June 11, 2008
The Australian IT

The Rudd Government would not embark on any large-scale smart card 
projects, Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig has told the industry Smart 
Cards Summit in Sydney.

Instead, the Government "may well continue to use the cheaper 
traditional magnetic swipe card" and the existing EFTPOS network for the 
welfare payments scheme announced in the recent budget.

"Put simply, we could not afford to wait to solve the difficulties for 
small business in the Northern Territory involving manual processing and 
stored value cards," he said. "We needed a solution this year, and a 
smartcard was not going to be an option.

"The Income Management Card will use EFTPOS to deliver income-managed 
payments to about 20,000 Centrelink customers in NT communities, and the 
trial for people referred by child welfare agencies in areas of Western 
Australia,"Senator Ludwig said.

Centrelink clients will be given PIN-protected cards that allow them to 
buy essential items such as food, household goods and clothing, at 
approved merchants.

Senator Ludwig said that while the Government had no objection to the 
principles behind smartcards, approaches to service delivery "should not 
centre around any one particular technology".

He said that the former government's Access Card scheme was "an identity 
card by stealth". Even if it had been backed by a thorough and verified 
business case, "I don't think that it made sense for government to be 
involved in such a roll-out", he said.

Tough new anti-money laundering laws meant banks and other businesses 
were more rigorous in enrolling customers, while better identity fraud 
protection measures and the pilot Document Verification Service were 
doing more than ever to "tidy up" documents used for proof of identity.

"There is significant potential for these initiatives to support each 
other," Senator Ludwig said. "In the welfare area, customers are already 
required to have a bank account in order to receive payments.

"If a card, smart or otherwise, is the best way to bring all this 
together, government need not play the central role. It may be enough to 
build payment transfer standards into the existing National Smartcard 
Framework and leave the private sector to roll-out and implement," he said.

But there would be a place for small-scale government-issued smartcards, 
such as the staff authentication card soon to be issued to all 27,000 
Centrelink employees. The card will provide secure building entry and 
authenticated access to Centrelink computer systems, and will bear an 
identity photo.

Senator Ludwig said Centrelink would become one of the first agencies to 
adopt the Identity Management for Australian Government Employee 
Framework (IMAGE), with a rollout to staff commencing later this year.



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

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