Govt backs blockchain tech to support Govpass scheme websites



The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has publicly released a design system outlining a proposal to implement blockchain technology in developing online services and government websites.


A publication from the DTA reveals an estimated 2.8 million transactions will be moved online as the Government’s digital identity scheme, Govpass, is gradually linked to more government services.

The agency received $700,000 in the 2018 Budget to find use cases for blockchain, citing the technology’s potential to improve Centrelink’s error-plagued online payments system.

“Our plan is to look for use cases across the Government, with an initial focus on the welfare payments system,” said Acting Chief Officer Randall Brugeaud.

“Then, working with our digital services standard, we’ll conduct user research with a view to having a prototype by the end of next financial year.”

Professor Christine Helliar of the University of South Australia, suggested blockchain could provide a link for all tax and welfare payments across a multiplicity of government agencies, reducing potential for error and fraud.

“Instead of data being collected by a range of different agencies, all transactions relating to a person could be kept in one place, with the government as gatekeeper,” she said.

Centrelink customers have experienced major issues accessing online services and accounts just last Monday, users reported an extended outage on the Centrelink website.

The Department of Human Services later advised of “issues impacting Centrelink online accounts, Child Support online accounts and the Express Plus Centrelink app.”

“There have been major problems with Centrelink’s automated data-matching system, which is precisely where a government blockchain could come in,” Professor Helliar said.