The Facebook of government: watch the ‘vision’ of what Services Australia will deliver

By Stephen Easton

Friday December 6, 2019

The Digital Transformation Agency has finally published a flashy promotional video showing the government’s “vision” of Services Australia, a week after Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert showed it to his chums from the IT industry.

It shows people using a website that looks more like Facebook than myGov, and perhaps some citizens will find some of its features just as creepy.

Noting the old adage that a picture tells a thousand words, Robert made these moving pictures the centrepiece of his major speech last Friday to the Australian Information Industry Association, where he explained the government’s plans to turn the Department of Human Services of today into a bastion of “delightful” interactions between citizens and federal agencies.

This is not just a rebrand, the minister said; the plan is to only slap the Services Australia label on services that “meet the expectations” of citizens.

In this week’s historic shake-up of the Australian Public Service, we learned that DHS/Services Australia will no longer be a department in its own right after February 1, when it is folded back into the Department of Social Services.

This puts DSS secretary and former DHS secretary Kathryn Campbell in charge of social service delivery and policy, and DHS secretary Renée Leon out of a job.

The AIIA chairperson and chief executive of Canberra Data Centres, Greg Boorer, was very pleased with the preview of things to come and thanked the minister profusely for the speech, before presenting him a very nice bottle of Coonawarra red from his own cellar and a bottle of scotch to go with it.

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