Thursday, March 15, 2007. 8:40pm (AEDT)
Govt agrees to delay smart card legislation
The Federal Government has agreed to delay the first round of legislation designed to introduce a high-tech access card for health and welfare services.
A Senate inquiry recommended the move because it could not properly assess the bill without seeing privacy and governance measures which were to be included in future legislation.
The committee found the smart card's security features appear stronger than the Medicare card, but it cannot be assumed it will not be vulnerable to corruption and misuse.
Committee chairman, Liberal Senator Brett Mason, says all the issues should be considered in a consolidated Bill.
"The aims of the access card, I think by all members of the committee were supported, to facilitate access to welfare and to fight fraud," he said.
"I think that everyone agrees that the Medicare card, its usefulness has come and gone and that the system has to be upgraded and new technology taken on board, now it's a matter of ironing out the detail to what's the best system of doing that."