Cast of thousands just the tip of the Access iceberg

In a report that resembles an iceberg -- more hidden than revealed -- KPMG's study into the federal government's smartcard initiative concludes the Access Card development is about change management not an IT project. The study has built a detailed costing model - not revealed, and set up milestones to be met - also not revealed.

The report says, however, the federal government will need to employ an extra 2000 staff to roll out its Human Services' Access Card.

Human Services Minister Joe Hockey commissioned the report - from which much Cabinet and commercial information was removed before its 'public' release - which says both Centrelink and Medicare will need to substantially increase staffing numbers to handle registration for the Access Card which it proposes should start in 2008.

Specific staffing numbers for registration will be dependent on timeliness.

KPMG recommend a three and a half year timeline including 18 months of planning, designing and building the HSS (Health and Social Services) solution and a 24-month registration period.

"There will need to be additional resources targeted to registration and these costs will potentially blow out over a longer timeframe," the report says.