Hockey hits out at smartcard critics, laggard banks

Human Services Minister Joe Hockey has vigorously defended thevirtues of the federal government’s planned smartcard, saying theproject’s cost will be controlled and people’s privacy will not becompromised.

“I see some self-appointed experts say $1.1 billion is notenough money, but the reason we appointed KPMG is because we wantedto be sure the project had a very focused set of priorities,”Hockey said today at this year’s smartcard summit in Sydney.

“We want to avoid application creep and the numbers are crossverified by the Department of Finance, Treasury, and my own agency.We’re confident $1.1 billion will be an appropriate sum of moneyfor this infrastructure.”

The new Access Card is set to wipe out some 17 cards andvouchers inn use for various government services, including theMedicare card, across the “Human Services family”, and, as such,Hockey said it will be “easier to deal with logistically”.

“I will be distributing a trillion dollars over the next 10years and that provides an opportunity for fraud that isunacceptable to the government,” he said. “KPMG says it will save$3 billion over 10 years, but I think that’s a significant underestimate.”

Hockey also released some details about how the project isprogressing, saying the department is now in a tender process for”lead advisers and project managers” which will be announced inJuly. There is also a worldwide search for a chief technologyarchitect to do the detailed design of the card’s rollout.

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