5 February 2023

Independent audit agrees, myGov has significant problems

| Chris Johnson
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David Thodey

David Thodey says myGov “must be easy to use, secure, leave no one behind”. Photo: APSC.

Australians most in need of welfare and crisis support have been the ones most severely impacted by the failures of the myGov system, an independent audit of the digital service platform has found.

Agencies pursuing their own agendas have contributed to the difficulties for many in accessing services through the myGov portal, which is administered by Services Australia.

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has released the audit, which was led by public service guru David Thodey, and said the report pointed out how difficult the system is for many people to use.

“It is clear that this report makes it very, very, very black and white that we need to rethink the way citizens deal with government,” Mr Shorten said.

“We should have one door into government and government needs to sort out the back office.”

He said recommendations from the report could be challenging for the federal government, but all governments had a role to play in streamlining access in the digital economy.

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People should not have to remember multiple passwords across all their government accounts.

“There’s much more we can do to discover myGov’s full potential. We can deliver services, from multiple layers of government, in a way that works for citizens and their individual circumstances,” he said.

“We can ensure they only need to ‘tell us once’. We can make services simpler, easier and even more secure. This has never been more important with cyber incidents continuing to disrupt the lives of Australians.

“Our government is committed to putting people at the centre of government services and we’ll consider the recommendations carefully. Investing in government services is investing in our citizens and our future economy. We’ll have more to say on the path the Australian Government will take in response to the audit throughout the year.”

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The audit recommends a thorough review of myGov over a five-year period, with cooperation between Canberra and states and territories.

The 56-page report makes 10 recommendations, including that the government’s so-called ‘one-stop-shop’ should be expanded to include more services and be made easier for services to join.

“Australians should have choice in how they interact with government digital services, and in whether, when and how they choose to share their personal information,” the report states.

It also recommends ongoing government funding with extra money for developing ways new services can be more easily included.

“Our key message is ongoing investment, so it isn’t a project that comes to an end,” Mr Thodey said.

“It’s like infrastructure – you’ve got to keep funding it over the long term.”

Up to 1.4 million myGov sessions are conducted in myGov each day, more than triple the use three years ago.

“Future development of myGov needs to have a user focus – it must be easy to use, secure, leave no one behind and deliver smart, tailored services that meet people’s needs,” Mr Thodey said.

“The panel’s vision for myGov will take commitment, collaboration and discipline across government.”

Ongoing funding of $38 million will be boosted with a two-year $200 million program to establish an enhanced myGov.

The myGov portal currently offers users the ability to link accounts for 15 government services, including JobSearch, Centrelink, Child Support, ATO, Medicare, My Health Record, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, My Aged Care, National Disability Insurance Scheme, and the National Redress Scheme, along with a handful of state-based services.

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Tom Worthington4:43 pm 07 Feb 23

myGov works, which is high praise for any computer system. But I don’t expect much of it, as it is like a piece of gaffer tape wrapped around a bundle pool noodles, all wobbling in different directions. The pool noodles are the separate departmental systems, which myGov tries to make look like a coherent whole. If you think government systems are bad book a plane ride on one airline, via another, they try to change your booking: far, far worse than myGov.

I was somewhat surprised (though maybe I shouldn’t have been – it’s government after all), that in changing a personal detail (phone number, address etc), I had to make the change in My gov, and separately in each of the linked govt dept services. Nuts.

ChrisinTurner1:42 pm 05 Feb 23

I suspect once again the System Test Analysts were pushed aside by “managers” because they were delaying the project unnecessarily.

I use the myGov site for tax (business and personal)and Medicare. A little challenging to set up but the staff I rang were very helpful and solved issues quickly. Continuing enhancement is a must but overall, it’s a helpful tool from my perspective

The system was deliberately designed and implemented to be as opaque and unusable as possible to minimise access to government services by mere plebeians

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