Minister Shorten Doorstop interview to discuss the new MyGov App



BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: Good morning everybody and welcome here to Australia’s iconic Opera House. It’s about 50 years ago that the opera house was opened and now 50 years on it’s a national icon. I’m hoping that our myGov app that we’re launching here today won’t take 50 years, but I’m hoping it becomes iconic for quality government services to everyday Australians.

I’m really pleased to be announcing this morning that at long last, long overdue, we now have a myGov app.

This will mean that for millions of Australians who use myGov services, that we’ll have an easier, simpler, quicker, more accessible app. Millions of Australians use myGov – in fact it’s Australia’s largest authenticated digital platform.

But what we’ve lacked, is an easy, quick, simple, accessible means to use the system.

Today’s announcement means no more annoying myGov inbox messages which then send you somewhere else, to go somewhere else, and you’re chasing your tail all day long.

The myGov app, because once you install it or upload it onto your phone, means that you can use the phone’s security details to be able to have that as your sign in for the app. So you can have your fingerprint or your face, or you can have a six code log in number, and once you have the app and log in using the features of your phone, you are then able to go to fifteen different government services, and we’re looking to add to those government services.

This shouldn’t be revolutionary news, but for government services in this country we have just taken a quantum leap forward.

One of the exciting features of the myGov app is that it’ll have a digital wallet.

So, what that means is that you’ll be able to put your government cards on your wallet. Right now you’ll be able to put your Pensioner Concession Card, your Health Care Card, your Seniors Health Care Card amongst other forms, and by March of next year we’re hoping to have your Medicare card in your digital wallet.

This will actually, I think, will be the start of providing secure identification for private sector providers.

See at the moment, when you put your 100 points of ID together for your rent, or hiring a car, or for telcos, these large companies store your data and then in the event of a hack your data goes on the dark web.

What this myGov app does, it is the start of being able to have a reliable QR code, where the private provider who wants ID from you – 100 points – can simply see the QR code on your app. That means that they don’t get to store the information behind it. If it’s a government myGov QR code app, that says that you are who you are, so I think this myGov app not only will help revolutionise government services but it will provide new security in the war against hacking, and also just upgrade the right of Australians citizens to have their own privacy respected by large corporations.

Now for people who are unsure how to use it, they can simply…how to find it first of all, they can go to the Apple shop or to Google Play or they can go to and load it up from there, and all of a sudden we’re just going to save people time.

One thing in the modern world that no one’s found a way to do is to print more time, so if we can’t make more time what we need to do is to take away some of the things that take our time away.

There’ll be digital coaching available through Services Australia for people who just want to get their head around it. And of course this app complements all the other forms of service delivery of government services, from our shopfronts to our sub agencies to the existing online provision.

Today’s really exciting.

It’s been 8 years in development from my predecessors. We’ve been able to pull this together and finalise it within six months. We’ve done that because we think that government services isn’t a second rate issue. We think that government services is a lot more than just ministers and lobbyists sorting out multi tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollar contracts, it’s about everyday people.

The myGov app is going to just give people more time.

Simpler, quicker, easier and more accessible.

It’s already been positively rated by independent accessibility online organisations, as saying this app is exactly best practice and what people want to see.

Happy to take any questions if there are any.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

SHORTEN: Digital identity is being worked on by a range of portfolios and ministers across government. This is definitely a big step toward it. What we see here is the myGov app, is all about making it citizen focussed. The question I always ask myself when we’re talking about government services and indeed online services is: how do we make it easier for the citizen to be able to control their own data? To be able to have things that are simple and easy to use? And how can we piggy back off existing technology? The fact of the matter is that many Australians now use their mobile phone as their entry point into a range of online services. But introducing the myGov app today, what we’re doing is making it… the Australian government is catching up with the Australian people. As we build in functionalities and new services across government, I think this myGov app will provides millions of Aussies with less hassle in their day and that’s got to be a good thing, but also certainty over the protection of their information.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

SHORTEN: There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever we do with development of any government services online, that privacy and security are non-negotiable. So we’ll take lessons from what’s happening around the world. Recently I saw how the Estonians have strengthened their systems, the same of the Danes, same with the European Commission in terms of how it protects privacy and the rights of citizens, so we’ll be informed as we go forward by best practice across the world. This myGov app I think solves problems for people. Things which make life easier, simpler, quicker, more accessible, and also start going the journey of providing government verification of identity without private corporations having to store valuable information, this is all progress and it’s part of the Albanese Government’s commitment to making government services fit for purpose for Australians in the modern digital age.

JOURNALIST: Do all the other apps now, the government apps, Medicare app, ATO app, Centrelink app, obsolete now or soon to be?

SHORTEN: They’re still there, but the aim is to increasingly focus through myGov. There’s no doubt that if you had your time again and you were starting from scratch you’d have one government app. That hasn’t been the history of our development, there’s been silos. Different people have sort of done their thing. They’re still functional, but there’s no doubt in my mind that people would want to go to one site and then have the back office sorted out by the app. Truth of the matter is that a lot of our apps reflect colonial federation structures from the 1890s when we hadn’t invented the computer, but what we now see is that Australians expect the government to get its house in order, they don’t want to have to keep telling the same story to different government agencies so I think the more that we can funnel people through the one door, and they expect, citizens expect us to have sorted out how different departments talk to each other. I’m not saying we’ve got that solution yet, but the myGov app is a very good step in the right direction.

JOURNALIST: And then, just the other one, when you do get a message on myGov in the system will it still be anxiety prone like it is for a lot of people?

SHORTEN: Well it will be a lot quicker to find out what the message is. I don’t know if anyone likes getting a message from the tax office ever, and I’m not sure I can take away that prime evil sense of nervousness but in all seriousness, when you get the message, you won’t then have to go online to another website, if you use the security features of your own phone, you know the photo or face id or fingerprint or six digit number, you can immediately find out what it’s all about. So no, I can’t say that getting a message from the tax office, it’s a sort of bureaucratic version of getting a notice from the dentist.

Thanks guys.