Govt earmarks $102.2m IT boost for child support

$16.2 million to be spent assessing Centrelink's Income Security Integrated System

The Labor government has earmarked $102.2 million over the next half decade to upgrade the Department of Human Services child support payment system, dubbed 'Cuba'.

The system deals with support payments for 1.2 million children with separated parents.

Implementation of the upgrade, announced yesterday as part of Labor's 2013-14 budget, will commence in July. The initial round of upgrades is expected to be finished by December 2015, with further upgrades implemented by June 2018.

According to DHS, the current system has been used for over a decade.

DHS will also spend $16.2 million over the next two years investigating a possible upgrade of Centrelink's core IT system, the Income Security Integrated System, which handles payments for more than 100 government programs.

"The Centrelink IT system supports assessments and delivery of income support and family payments to over 7 million people, with over half a billion dollars deposited into the bank accounts of Australians every working day," human services minister Senator Jan McLucas said.

"IT requirements are extensive and the review will examine options to ensure we can continue to support and deliver future government programs, efficiently and effectively."

The government has said DHS will make savings of $62.4 million over the next half decade by processes that include replacing the use of cheques with electronic transfers to GPs and specialists and increasing the use of online transactions for Austudy recipients.

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