Heavy-hitters brought in for Medicare, Centrelink
The federal government can't be accused of being short sighted after forming a taskforce to look at how public servants can best deliver Medicare and Centrelink services over the next 10 years.
To help with the big task, Human Services Minister Kim Carr has enlisted 17 heavy-hitters from the health and welfare areas, along with academics and digital experts.
The motivation for taking such a long term approach is that in less than 15 years, Australia's population is projected to be about 28 million.
"And every single one of them will use the services provided by the Department of Human Services," Senator Carr says.
"When they visit the doctor, look for a job, start a family or are affected by a natural disaster, the department's agencies such as Medicare and Centrelink will be servicing them."
Australians currently do use all those services but the magnitude of the task to provide them seamlessly will increase as the population grows.
The challenge is enormous because no one knows exactly what kinds of technology will be available in 10 to 20 years.
"We need to consider how new technologies can be adapted and used to improve services," Senator Carr said.
"In recent years the department has worked to improve services to Australians through one-stop shops, new apps and online capability, and more 'wrap-around' or intensive face-to-face services."
At the same time, the use of online services is growing by more than 20 per cent a year, with more than 2,000 Xpress Plus apps downloaded every day by students, job seekers and seniors.
The A-list of advisers includes the head of ACOSS, Cassandra Goldie, AMA president Steve Hambleton, St Vincent de Paul Society CEO John Falzon, Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood, CSIRO head Megan Clark and the ANU's Adam Graycar.