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No Welfare Reform without Digital Payments Transformation and Digital Identity Strategy. A Submission to the McClure Welfare Reform Consultation and the Murray Financial Systems Inquiry.

This is a combined submission from the Centre for Digital Business to the McClure Welfare Reform consultation process and the Murray Financial Systems inquiry. The submission highlights serious issues for government administration in Australia in the fragmentation of payment arrangements across government that compromise policy.

It connects issues raised across a number of government reports and reforms (financial service inquiry, the National Commission of Audit, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and the Reserve Bank of Australia New Payments Platform) – common themes of payments, identity strategy and the lack of a whole-of-government technology strategy at the Commonwealth level.

There is currently an historic and possibly serendipitous convergence of strategies – the recasting of the welfare reform architecture at the time when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is implementing a new payments architecture through the New Payments Platform (NPP) following the RBA Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System – against the backdrop of the inquiry into the future of Australia’s financial system.

At the same time that the proposed McClure welfare reforms are being considered and the RBA work on the NPP is being implemented, there are very significant investment processes underway across Commonwealth Government agencies that directly relate to payments and information services.

These investments are made in the absence of a whole-of-government transformation strategy; in the absence of whole-of-government technology strategy; and in the absence of a whole-of-government strategic payments capability architecture. This is akin to building a town without a town plan. Such fragmentation of payment arrangements affects all social welfare delivery.

The submission also highlights issues for the states.

Author:  Marie Johnson, Centre for Digital Business

No Welfare Reform without Digital Payments Transformation and Digital Identity Strategy