Australian Government, 2011‑12 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Human Services

Building Australia's Future Workforce — Community Innovation through Collaboration

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 4.2 12.3 11.3 10.4

The Government will provide $38.2 million over four years to support the implementation and delivery of innovative local programs in 10 targeted locations. This measure will boost engagement, capability and workforce participation among disadvantaged target groups.

The measure includes a $25.0 million Local Solutions Fund which will be available for the Commonwealth to deliver innovative local services and programs jointly with the state, territory and local governments, not‑for‑profit and private sectors. The measure will also fund Service Coordinators and Community Based Facilitators in each location. The Service Coordinators will be based in Centrelink offices and will ensure that all employment and social participation initiatives are accessible to Centrelink clients. Facilitators will be based in leading community organisations and will collaborate with Service Coordinators to ensure clients needs are being met and are supported to meet their obligations.

Building Australia's Future Workforce — connection interviews and jobseeker workshops

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 4.0 4.8 4.4 4.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services 0.3

The Government will provide $18.0 million over four years for Centrelink to deliver additional assistance for job seekers to find employment. Under this measure, Centrelink and Job Services Australia providers will conduct joint interviews with disadvantaged job seekers who have not met their job search obligations. These interviews will improve information sharing and joint servicing approaches between Centrelink and employment service providers.

The measure will also provide for Centrelink Job Seeker Workshops to be introduced in around 40 sites as a standard component of employment services arrangements from 2012. The workshops will target job‑ready job seekers in the first 13 weeks of their unemployment and will provide practical assistance to support job search efforts.

Building Australia's Future Workforce — improved services — tailored support for job seekers

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 3.8 4.1 5.5 6.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $20.2 million over four years to expand current trials of Local Connections to Work, which provide integrated support to disadvantaged job seekers. Of this funding, an amount of $0.7 million in capital will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

The funding will enable Department of Human Services staff to assist long term unemployed people in areas of disadvantage to identify and overcome barriers to economic participation. The funding will increase the number of locations delivering the service from nine sites in 2010‑11 to 24 sites by 2014‑15. A comprehensive evaluation of the measure will be undertaken to inform future policy development.

Under this measure, job seekers needing assistance will be able to access Australian, state and local government services, employment service and education providers and community welfare organisations from their local Centrelink office. These services may include financial assistance, advocacy, housing, employment, health support, education and counselling. Accessing these services from one location will help job seekers to obtain the assistance they need to overcome their barriers to participation.

Centrelink — call centre supplementation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 51.0

The Government will provide $51.0 million in 2011‑12 to ensure Centrelink is able to meet demand arising from customers making increased use of call centres. The measure will also support the capacity of Centrelink's call centres to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

Fraud prevention and compliance — improving compliance with income reporting

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 3.2 2.1 1.6 2.6
Department of Veterans' Affairs .. ‑1.1 ‑1.2 ‑0.7
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations ‑2.2 ‑1.0 ‑1.0 ‑1.0
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs ‑3.9 ‑12.9 ‑18.8 ‑20.1
Total ‑2.8 ‑13.0 ‑19.5 ‑19.2
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs 1.1

The Government will provide $11.4 million over four years to help prevent social welfare recipients from accumulating debt due to under‑reporting of income from their managed investments.

The measure will provide Centrelink and the Department of Veterans' Affairs with the capability to match customer data with Annual Income Investment Report data provided by the Australian Taxation Office. These data comparisons will ensure that Centrelink has updated details for customer income from investments such as shares and unit trusts. This will reduce the risk of customers under‑reporting their income, and lower the rate at which debts arise from overpayment. These steps will be accompanied by an education strategy to remind customers of their obligations to declare investment information to Centrelink.

This measure is expected to provide net savings of $53.4 million over four years.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Service Delivery Reform — improving access — claiming Medicare benefits online

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 1.2 0.9 ‑0.9 ‑1.7

The Government will provide $6.3 million over four years to improve access to Medicare Australia claiming by allowing customers to lodge a number of Medicare Benefits Schedule general practitioner claims online. The service also provides a feedback channel for customers to consult with the Department of Human Services on how the service could be improved. The new online service will allow people to lodge claims outside business hours and will pay benefits into the customer's nominated bank account within three working days.

The measure will reduce the time taken to process Medicare claims and generate savings of $6.7 million over four years, resulting in a net saving of $0.4 million over the four years.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 March 2011 issued by the Minister for Human Services.

Service Delivery Reform — improving access — extending services through Medicare and Centrelink one‑stop‑shops

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 8.1 9.0 9.2 1.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $107.5 million over four years to continue the progressive co‑location of 520 Centrelink and Medicare Australia shop fronts. Of this funding $65.8 million in capital, will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

Co‑location will involve the expansion of existing office space to accommodate additional services or the merging of a small number of existing shop fronts (around 61 sites) into existing or new premises. This will generate savings of $14.0 million over four years through a reduction in property costs and will only occur where an alternate service location is available.

This initiative will improve access to government services by expanding the range of services available in any one location. It will also provide a platform for the future co‑location of other Commonwealth, state and territory agencies.

Further information can be found in the press release of 18 November 2010 issued by the Minister for Human Services.

Service Delivery Reform — improving access — extension of rural mobile services and outreach support for the homeless

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 2.7 4.8 8.0 8.9
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $35.6 million over four years to improve access to Centrelink and Medicare Australia services for socially or geographically isolated people.

Funding of $23.3 million (including $11.1 million of capital costs to be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services) will be provided to continue two mobile offices, and support a third mobile office from 2013‑14, to expand the Rural Mobile Office Service. Trained Department of Human Services staff will provide a range of services for people living in regional areas of Australia where there are no Centrelink offices and in areas affected by natural disasters. The service will also facilitate customer access to other Australian, state and local government initiatives from one location.

A further $12.4 million will be provided for an additional 20 Community Engagement Officers and 13 social workers (from 2012‑13) to extend the Homelessness and Social Inclusion Service for people who are, or at risk of becoming homeless. The measure will significantly increase the level of services to this vulnerable group including assisting people to access income support options and connect to local community services that offer accommodation assistance and other support.

Service Delivery Reform — improving access — single web and telephone service

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 11.8 5.7 4.6 3.8
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $38.7 million over four years to complete the transition to a single portfolio website and telephone number. Of this funding an amount of $9.1 million in capital will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

The funding will support the continued development of a single portfolio website which will include personalised web browsing to allow customers to find information that is relevant to their personal circumstances.

The single portfolio telephone number will be enhanced with a fully automated voice recognition service. The initial phase of the single portfolio telephone and website initiative was launched in December 2010.

This initiative will ensure access to information and services is more convenient, and make it easier for customers to manage their interactions with the Department of Human Services. Streamlining the portfolio communication network will generate savings of $3.8 million over four years.

Service Delivery Reform — improving portfolio business — improving online services

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 41.5 25.2 15.6 21.4
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4
Total 42.8 26.5 17.0 22.8
Related capital ($m)
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.7 0.2
Department of Human Services
Total 0.7 0.2

The Government will provide $157.6 million over four years to enhance and develop information communication technologies (ICT) that gives customers the choice to manage their Centrelink, Medicare Australia and Child Support Agency accounts and transactions online. Of this funding an amount of $47.7 million in capital will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

The enhanced online functionality will allow customers to:

  • access all of their portfolio accounts through a single and secure logon facility; and
  • share their information across the portfolio in a single transaction ('tell us once').

The Department of Human Services will also conduct a trial to determine the ICT requirements needed to enable staff to view a consenting customer's accounts. This capability is designed to provide customers and staff with a complete picture of a customer's interactions across the portfolio so that services can be matched to changing customer needs.

Customers will be able to choose whether to access information and services online, in person or by post. The Department of Human Services will continue to work closely with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner so that customers have adequate levels of control and choice over the use of their information.

Funding of $6.4 million will be provided to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to maintain an ICT interface with the Human Services portfolio to ensure the continuity of data exchanges.

Service Delivery Reform — improving portfolio business — integrated business operation and workflow management system

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services ‑41.6 ‑98.8 ‑100.2 ‑100.7

The Government will put in place a new organisational structure for the Human Services portfolio that amalgamates the business operations of Medicare Australia, Centrelink and Child Support Agency and redesigns the way work is managed and distributed. The new business structure will provide more efficient delivery of services to customers and generate net savings of $341.3 million over four years.

The enhanced workflow management system will optimise the distribution of work across the Human Services portfolio. The connected system will improve processing time by allocating work to the next available staff member, regardless of their physical location. It will also optimise customer support by allowing staff to readily provide customers with up‑to‑date information on the status of their transactions. Customers will be kept informed of the progress of their transactions via an automated notification system. Customers will also be able to track the status of their own transactions online.

Service Delivery Reform — improving portfolio business — simplifying and automating online services

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services ‑6.3 ‑23.9 ‑47.5 ‑62.8

The Government will improve customer interactions with Centrelink, Medicare Australia and the Child Support Agency by simplifying and automating portfolio services and business processes. This reform will support the development of an online automation service that will make it easier and more convenient for customers when applying for services and notifying the portfolio agencies of a change to their circumstances.

The reform will generate net savings of $140.4 million over four years by redesigning forms to make them clearer and more concise, and expanding online customer services such as:

  • completing and submitting forms securely online;
  • updating customer contact details using improved, more accurate technology; and
  • allowing nominees to register and manage a customer's service arrangements more easily.

Efficiencies will be generated by reducing the amount of processing associated with paper based notifications, forms and letters. The measure will also enhance data exchanges with third party organisations to streamline business reporting on customer income and assets.

Customers will still be able to choose whether they complete and lodge forms securely online or continue to submit completed paper forms in person or by post.

Service Delivery Reform — improving services — increased support for people needing assistance

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 11.3 18.1 21.9 21.6
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Total 11.7 18.5 22.3 22.0

The Government will provide $74.4 million over four years to trial a new approach to delivering human services that better supports people who have difficulty self‑managing their access to government services. Department of Human Services staff will be trained to identify people needing assistance and to match those needs with appropriate services within the portfolio and the local community. The level of support and assistance offered will vary depending on customers' needs, from simple training or information referral to intensive support that involves the coordination of multiple appointments with government and local community services.

The measure will focus on early intervention and assisting people to become able to self‑manage their needs and access government services in the future. There will be a staged approach to the roll‑out of the trial, with 44 service locations rolled‑out by 2013‑14 across all states and territories. Ten of these locations will be priority sites from the Building Australia's Future Workforce package. A comprehensive evaluation will be undertaken to inform future policy development.

Funding of $1.6 million over four years will be provided to the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations to work closely with the Department of Human Services during the implementation and evaluation of the trial.

Service Delivery Reform — improving services — involving users and the community in designing improved service delivery

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 4.6 4.6 1.9 1.9

The Government will provide $13.0 million over four years to improve the design and delivery of human services based on consultation, feedback and testing by the users of those services, as well as the broader community.

Service Delivery Reform — integrating the portfolio — corporate integration

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 65.6 40.9 18.5 12.4
Department of Finance and Deregulation 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 65.7 41.0 18.6 12.5
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $297.1 million over four years to facilitate the administrative and physical integration of Medicare Australia, Centrelink and Human Services into a single department. Of this funding an amount of $89.8 million, including $58.8 million in capital, will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

The initiative will put in place a change management program which will establish a range of strategies to assist staff in the integrated workplace, including business process redesign, job redesign and tailored training programs. It will also support internal and external communication to inform staff and customers of the benefits and changes associated with portfolio integration. A new building will be constructed to accommodate national office staff.

The integration will generate savings of $69.5 million over four years through efficiencies and process improvements associated with amalgamating and transforming existing policies, systems, products and processes relating to the human resources, corporate and financial areas.

The measure will also provide $0.4 million over four years for the Department of Finance and Deregulation to undertake Gateway Assurance Reviews.

Service Delivery Reform — integrating the portfolio — information and communications technology integration

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Human Services 10.6 3.0 ‑10.2 ‑32.0
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services

The Government will provide $373.6 million over four years to integrate the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure of Medicare Australia, Centrelink and the Child Support Agency. Of this funding, an amount of $295.4 million, including $205.3 million in capital, will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Human Services.

The initiative will deliver a:

  • single shared ICT gateway linking the separate portfolio networks;
  • single integrated security management system to protect sensitive information across payment systems;
  • new data recovery centre to backup customer data in the event of a system failure;
  • single consolidated data management system; and
  • common staff portal, desktop and email system to enable faster and more efficient operations.

ICT integration will generate savings of $106.8 million across the portfolio by streamlining core processing, storage infrastructure and support services, resulting in a net saving for the initiative of $28.5 million over four years.

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