There has been recent speculation in the media about a possible resurrection of the Access Card project. Is this just speculation, or is there a possibility that aspects of the project could resurface?
The Howard Government launched the billion dollar Access Card project (managed by the Access Card Office within the Department of Human Services) to provide a smart card for Australians accessing Government services. The incoming Labor Government made it quite clear even before the election, that it would cancel the project, citing cost and privacy concerns.
Last week, following questions in Parliament and apparent leaks, the issue resurfaced. An article in the Australian Financial Review suggested that there may be a plan within the Government to adopt parts of the cancelled project.
In recent public statements, Human Services Minister, Joe Ludwig has been quite specific in ruling out a revival of the access card project. However, he has indicated that welfare fraud continues to be a concern for the Government, perhaps leaving the door ajar for the possibility of using smart card technology in another form.