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1 year ago
Another Government IT project is on the verge of being scrapped, with staff told to abandon the Liberals $100m child support payment system.
After a string of failures across multiple departments in the first six months of the year, there is little doubt now that this Government is unable to deliver digital projects.
Today’s failure is the Government’s long-troubled digital child support payment management system - system problems that were examined at length during the recent Senate inquiry into the government's digital transformation program.
Previously, the Department of Human Services was using a system known as Cuba, to manage child support payments.
Five years ago, it was determined that the Cuba software was deficient and the Government attempted to replace it with the Pluto system, which it launched last year.  
But after serious inadequacies in the Pluto system, including the fact that it was found that Pluto was unable to fulfil primary functions that Cuba could perform, the Department decided to retain Cuba, and use it concurrently with Pluto.  
Up until recently, DHS staff were required to use both systems and had to double enter data and information.
After sinking over $100 million into the project, officials have now been advised not to use the system.
At budget estimates in May, it was revealed that the $103.2 million was initially budgeted to replace Cuba has been exhausted and the project was now running on business-as-usual funds.
An outage that lasted nearly a week affecting both of these crucial IT systems in March 2018 took the Government 4 days to discover and rectify. 
Not surprisingly call wait times for CSA have doubled since the introduction of Pluto, from 3 minutes 18 seconds in 2017 to 7 minutes 24 seconds in 2018.
This latest incident is another example of the government’s Digital Transformation Agency’s mismanagement of digital projects.
Again Labor is asking: how can Australia trust the Turnbull Government with a multi-billion digital transformation process?
Prior to this incident, we were able to point to the government’s digital dirty digital dozen of project failure - that has now continued to grow to over 15.
  1. The phenomenal fail of its 2016 Census
  2. Repeated crashes of the ATO website: more than 12 over 12 months
  3. Delayed revamp of the Child Support Agency website
  4. Halted the start of Online NAPLAN testing
  5. Guillotined its GOV.AU redesign proposal, wasting nearly $1m
  6. Shut its Digital Transformation Office, then renamed it     
  7. Waved goodbye to its DTO CEO
  8. Scored small business thumbs down for overhyped Digital Marketplace
  9. Witnessed the arrest of DHS IT contractors for suspected fraud
  10. Notched up a record spend on government IT
  11. And who can forget…RoboDebt?
  12. The dumped  Apprentice IT platform (AAMS).
  13. Suspended the ACIC biometric project
  14. Centrelink data breach
  15. Centrelink difficulties with online platform
  16. Major problems with this year’s NAPLAN test results
Social Services ATO website child support Digital Human Services