Centrelink’s computing system has not received an upgrade since the 1980s and now is unable to cope with the $100 billion worth of payments made a year.
The system, which paid $10 billion a year to 2.5 million people three decades ago, now pays $100 billion to 7.3 million people and could get a three-year, $1 billion revamp if funding goes ahead in the May budget.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, who is pushing for the upgrade, has described the system as “Walkman-era technology”.
The Australian reports that the current system takes three months and costs $20,000 just to change the header on a letter.
The computer system has been repeatedly patched up over the years is reportedly unable to efficiently process the 30 million lines of code it has acquired with frequent changes to policy and payments such as the pension, Newstart, Youth Allowance, family tax benefits and Disability Support Pension.
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