The second request for tender (RFT) for the Australian Access Card was released yesterday for a contractor to implement both the card and key management system.
Also included in the tender is design and distribution of the card.
The next two tenders for the access card will be released later this year (Q2 2007), including transaction delivery providers and IT Infrastructure.
The tender for the implementation of the card and key management system spans three years with the eventual winner evaluated on capability, experience and past performance, financial viability and corporate capacity, affordability and privacy compliance.
Closing date for this tender is March 14, 2007.
The key management system (KMS) includes the complete management of encryption keys, upgrading and deleting old keys and ensuring interoperability with the card management systems (CMS).
The card management system tracks access cards through their entire lifecycle and can hold applications for secure storage or transfer of holder information.
Human Services Minister, Ian Campbell, said the eventual rollout is the single greatest initiative ever undertaken in Australia to combat welfare fraud.
"The Australian government has publicly stated its commitment to ensuring the personal information of Australians will be subject to the highest level of security," Campbell said.
"To that end tenderers for the second RFT will be required to demonstrate how they will meet security and privacy requirements for the access card.
"The Labor Party has been all over the shop on the access card until last week when Labour's spokesperson, Tanya Plibersek made it clear the ALP will effectively dump the card. This makes Labor the friend of fraudsters."
Shadow Human Services Minister, Kelvin Thomson, said the government is attempting to ask taxpayers to foot a billion dollar bill without producing any evidence showing the extent of fraud, or exactly how the Access Card will solve the problem.
Thomson said the Labor party is supportive of any measures to reduce health and welfare fraud, but only if they are cost effective.
"This is the real issue for the Access Card and the government: whether the process, timetable and design proposed by the government is the best answer to fraud," Thomson said.
"Until the government explains how the registration process will counter existing problems with document authentication and proof of identity processes, Labor remains skeptical of the government's claims."