Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Transcript: Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB/4BC

4 May 2020

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
Topics: 
Australian Government’s coronavirus contact tracing app
E&OE

Ray Hadley:

We've got more than four million Australians downloading the app already. But even though it's in the background of your phone, and they are collecting the data, there seems to be some sort of, I guess, problem between the state and territory health officials in that they're not at this moment sharing information. Hopefully that's going to be rectified rather quickly the minister in charge of all of this is Stuart Robert, Minister for Government Services. Mr Robert on the line. Minister, good morning.

Minister Robert:

G’day Ray, how are you?

Ray Hadley:

Fighting fit. How close are we to getting this operation fully operational as we thought it would be?

Minister Robert:

In a matter of days. The back end is how state health officials access data. And as part of the triple privacy lock, we're legislating on the 12th of May when Parliament goes back, there is Biosecurity advice that has gone in by the Health Minister, that’s the second lock. And the third lock is the states’ MOU with the Commonwealth, which outlines T&C's by how they'll use the data.

So, the state health officials are all just finalising that third triple lock. And that's going well and I've got no criticism with the states, they’ve been doing a cracker of job of this.

Ray Hadley:

So what, we have a guess Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday that we'll start to see results of all these people including ourselves that have, you know, open up the app and be a part of this?

Minister Robert:

By the end of the week I think would be a reasonable timeline to put in place. That'll give all the states and territories and the Commonwealth the time to finalise all the individual MOUs, the T&C's that go with that, user training for state officials in terms of access to it.

And even that, think about how long it normally takes MOUs to be signed between the levels of government, this is, this is on steroids.

So it is going as fast as humanly possible and remember, the app still operating in the background—it’s doing the job. This is just access of state of health officials to augment the manual process.

Ray Hadley:

Okay yeah it's got… it's in the background and we’ve told people how to use it. It's actually the data is going through. But at the moment if a person does test positive for the virus the information on their app will not be passed to the contact tracers because states and territories are still working on that. We hope by Friday, there will be all hunky dory, and we'll be in business but if you are you in contact with a person by Friday we'll know that information will come back to you, providing those people content that the information being passed to you, of course.

Minister Robert:

Yes, that's right. I think the key thing is we want as many Australians as possible, 4.44 million as a couple minutes ago Australians have downloaded, which is just superb.

Now, it's voluntary there's no compulsion. We just want Australians to join us for this Team Australia moment.

It's collecting less information than we normally give away in the White Pages and a hell of a lot less than what you provide to the big Facebooks and the Googles and the Apples and the social media, and then, the very end of course you delete your app and we delete the data store.

But this is an opportunity just to digitise a manual process and speed up a manual tracing process. It could take days and if there are vulnerable people who are susceptible to the virus days equals lives Ray.

Ray Hadley:

Okay we will get back to you if it is not up by Friday. We appreciate your time today. Thanks Minister.

Minister Robert:

Not a problem, cheers.

[ENDS]

Page last updated: 4 May 2020