Easier. Quicker. More accessible.
What's not to love about the new myGov app that launched this week?
I mean, if Australians have to interact with their Government, it should be as convenient as possible.
We know millions of visits to myGov in the past 12 months were made using a mobile device. So, with lots of us using our smartphones to sign in to myGov already, developing an app that allows a simpler and more secure experience was a no-brainer.
And given I have heard, loud and clear, that “You have a new message in your myGov inbox” is something people dread seeing, I'm sure this will be a very welcome change.
This is all part of Albanese Labor's election commitment to identify the changes needed to improve myGov's functionality and to make it more user-friendly — more consistent, seamless and, importantly, a more unified approach across government.
Basically, we wanted to unlock the myGov platform's potential and give Australians back their time. I don't want to see Aussies waste time on slow processes when they shouldn't have to.
And its potential is impressive, being Australia's largest authenticated digital platform with around a million sign-ins every day, operating for almost 10 years, and connecting people with 15 Federal and State online services.
But to set priorities for the future, we had to put users' needs front and centre in the design process of the myGov app.
To do that we consulted widely to make sure we knew what you needed and wanted. The majority of the 2000 Australians who tested the app during its development said they would prefer using that to having to visit a bureaucratic website.
You couldn't have got much further from a clunky bureaucratic website than the spot we chose to launch the app on Monday — on the foreshore of a magnificent, busy Sydney Harbour, next to one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House. It was a reminder that we live in an exciting, modern, successful nation and Australians are right to have an expectation that their government keeps pace with technology.
I am really excited to let Australians know that in recognition of this fact, the Government's digital services have been revamped. Tens of thousands of people have already downloaded the app and linked a service so we know there was a genuine desire for this to be designed.
The myGov app will allow people to store government-issued cards and documents, such as Centrelink concession cards or your international COVID-19 vaccination certificate, to a digital wallet.
This is an important leap forward in the ongoing transformation of myGov and you'll be able to add additional items such as your Medicare card not too far in the future.
You can also verify your documents through one of those QR codes we eventually got the hang of during COVID when we were checking into stores and venues. You might need to show your concession card to a doctor or pharmacist, for example, and they can simply scan the QR code that comes up in your app to confirm the document is both genuine and valid. That means providers don't need to store your personal information, signalling a significant step towards tackling fraud and theft of these important documents.
You also have the option of using your phone's in-built security feature and accessibility functions.
What that means is you can just use fingerprint or face recognition — no more remembering your PIN — and select larger text or text-to-speech if you need to.
I do know new technology can sometimes seem daunting, especially for those who grew up in the pre-internet era. And let's be clear.
Using online services remains a choice, you don't have to use the app. You can still call or go into a Services Australia centre. But, if you want the convenience of accessing your services from the comfort of your own home — no more waiting in queues, no more tragic on-hold music — then the myGov app is worth a try and we can help you get started.
Services Australia will give you a free, one-on-one coaching session with a staff member who'll help set up your myGov account or download the myGov app to your own device and get your services linked.
You just need to make an appointment at any Services Australia centre and head in with your own phone or laptop and the great team there will get you up and running with the app.
It may be the last time you ever go to a Services Australia centre! Don't worry though, we won't leave you high and dry. If you need extra coaching or a refresher down the track, just book another appointment.
MyGov will continue to evolve, as you'd expect. There'll be new features added over time.
The Government wants the app to deliver outstanding personalised services when and where Australians need them. In a country as progressive and smart as ours, it is what our citizens expect and deserve.