Senate Committee reports on Access Card

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee has released its report on the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007 (Access Card).

The Committee considered that the bill needs to be combined with the second tranche of legislation into a consolidated bill to allow proper consideration of the access card proposal and provide safeguards.

The Committee concluded that the second tranche would need to deal with the following issues:

  • Whether the government should consider providing appropriate terminals or readers to those agencies and providers providing benefits and services to access card holders.
  • Whether the only mandatory information displayed on the surface of the card should be the card holder’s name and that other information should be at the discretion of the card holder.
  • Whether the Commonwealth area of the chip should store existing agency identifiers and that these numbers should be used when linking a card to a participating agency database, rather than the access card number.
  • Whether the form and manner in which the register is to be kept should be set out in legislation and prohibitions such as keeping the register separate from other data bases should be expressly stated.
  • Whether the following determinations should be made by way of legislation or disallowable legislative instrument:

          (a) what proof of identity (POI) information and documents are needed for registration;
          (b) what proof of identity documents (or information about those documents) will need to be                     scanned and placed on the register; and
            (c) when applying for an access card, what ‘other specified information’ or documents that the                 secretary deems necessary: (i) to be satisfied of the applicant’s identity, or (ii) to obtain                         information required for the card or the register (clause 23(2)(b).

  • Whether any proposals to appoint additional participating agencies should be made through legislative amendment of the principal act.
  • Whether access of law enforcement and security agencies to the information in the register should be specified in the access card legislation.
  • Whether any exercise of discretion by the secretary of DHS to grant law enforcement or security agencies access to the register should be reported to the Parliament, perhaps in the agency’s annual report in such a way as not to compromise operational matters or national security.
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