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3.4 Digital and online services


Customer feedback has demonstrated that many customers prefer online services as the most efficient and appropriate way to transact their business with the department. The department offers those customers access to its myGov service—a convenient and secure way to access government services online with one login and one password. myGov allows people to undertake their business at a time and place that suits them, such as looking for lost superannuation, submitting their income tax returns, and claiming payments.

The myGov digital service is a great example of how the government is using technology to help Australians connect with the services they need. A myGov account allows customers to access government online services such as:

  • Australian JobSearch
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • Centrelink
  • Child Support
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • Housing Victoria Online Services
  • Medicare
  • My Aged Care
  • My Health Record
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • National Redress Scheme
  • State Revenue Office Victoria.

myGov services were available 99.94 per cent of the year in 2018–19, exceeding the target of 99.5 per cent availability.

myGov is now one of the biggest digital services in Australia and has surpassed the number of digital service users of major businesses (such as the Commonwealth Bank). There are approximately 503,000 logins to myGov every day—since 2016–17 the number of logins has almost doubled.

We know that out of these 503,000 logins each day, once securely authenticated, customers then navigate to a range of government online services to conduct their business.

myGov usage is also benefiting taxpayers, with savings on postage costs having recently passed $223 million, driven by the increasing popularity of the digital service. This is as a result of customers choosing to receive their mail through the myGov inbox. For 2018 alone, $82 million was saved in postage costs.

Following a significant modernisation of the myGov digital service in 2017–18, 2018–19 has seen continued improvements to the service.

The department places users at the centre of all myGov design decisions. Additional areas for improvement are always being identified. User research has been undertaken for a number of these identified concepts, including a myGov Virtual Assistant and a secure SMS messaging option for myGov.

Electronic messaging

The department continues to use electronic messaging (SMS and email) to communicate with customers. The department uses this technology to send personalised messages to customers based on their circumstances. This helps to reduce the number of letters the department mails—see Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1: SMS messages sent by the department




% change since 2017–18

Total SMS sent





(a) Since Centrelink online letters transitioned to the myGov inbox from December 2018, Centrelink ceased sending new mail notifications to individuals, resulting in an overall reduction to the number of SMS and email notifications generated.

Table 2: System‑generated email messages sent by the department




% change since 2017–18

Total system-generated emails sent





(a) Since Centrelink online letters transitioned to the myGov inbox from December 2018, Centrelink ceased sending new mail notifications to individuals, resulting in an overall reduction to the number of SMS and email notifications generated.

Personal details and circumstances updates

In 2018–19, customers undertook 207.4 million interactions online via phone self service and Express Plus mobile apps. The department has made enhancements to online services so that customers are now able to view more of their details on the landing page upon entering their online account. For example, customers can see the status of their online claims, reminders, and when and what their next payment will be. The enhancements thus reduce the number of steps customers need to go through to undertake these dealings. They also make it easier for customers to access their information when using the apps.

To ensure they receive the correct payments, Centrelink customers can view and update a range of personal details, as well as notify changes to circumstances online or via the mobile app. This includes details about address and accommodation, income and assets (including savings, shares, income streams, compensation income, real estate, managed investments, gifts and deprived assets, foreign income and assets, and other income), study, overseas travel, and bank account details to receive payments. Recipients can also report employment income, request a document and claim advance payments online.

Centrelink Confirmation eServices

Sometimes businesses and organisations—for example, utility providers, local councils, housing providers, financial planners and superannuation funds—need information from the department to determine a person’s eligibility to receive a concession, rebate or service they provide.

The department’s online Centrelink Confirmation eServices allows approved businesses and organisations to confirm that a person is entitled to a concession or rebate, obtain income and asset information or help with determining eligibility for the early release of superannuation due to financial hardship. With the person’s consent, businesses and organisations can electronically:

  • confirm that a customer is eligible to receive a concession, rebate or service (Customer Confirmation)
  • confirm the customer’s income, assets and payment details (Income Confirmation)
  • confirm whether superannuation can be released early due to financial hardship (Superannuation Confirmation).

In 2018–19, there were 105 million Centrelink Confirmation eServices transactions.

Table 3: Digital and online services





Self service transactions(a)

165.7 million

182.6 million

207.4 million

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)(b) (c)

43.0 million

46.5 million

51.4 million


Self service transactions(d)

13.3 million

22.9 million

21.8 million

Provider ‘point of service’ digital transactions(e)

594.1 million

617.4 million

634.7 million

Child Support

Self service transactions(f) (g)




(a) Due to Management Information enhancements with online services for Centrelink recipients, we now capture the landing page views once a customer enters their online account. This results in a significant increase in the number of transactions from 2017–18 onward.

(b) EDI is a Centrelink digital transaction for businesses and organisations providing the department with data electronically.

(c) The EDI figure for 2016–17 has retrospectively changed from 44.7 million to 43.0 million.

(d) Claim Medicare Benefits Online (CMBO) transactions were included in this entry for the first time in 2016–17 (0.1 million transactions).

(e) Point of service digital transactions include PBS Online, online bulk billing, Easyclaim, HPOS and Electronic Claim Lodgement and Information Processing Service Environment (ECLIPSE).

(f) From 2017–18, Child Support ‘self service transactions’ data included online registrations transactions.

(g) From 2016–17 onward for comparison purposes, General Enquiry transactions have been removed.

Health Professionals Online Service

HPOS offers health professionals a single entry point and real‑time access to a range of health‑related programs and online services.

Health professionals access HPOS through the PRODA online authentication system. PRODA is a robust yet flexible identity‑verifying and open‑source authentication service. Since it was introduced in 2015, it has been increasingly used to ensure that customer information is not lost, disclosed, modified or used without authorisation. PRODA utilises a two‑step username and password combined with a single‑use verification code as a replacement for the existing legacy Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) authentication types that require hardware and software.

In 2018–19, the department further improved the services and functionality within HPOS by introducing a range of user improvements, including:

  • allowing organisation details to be recorded for a new or existing claiming location as part of the ‘Add a new location’ or ‘My provider number details’ service
  • introducing an advanced streamlined ‘Delegation’ service that gives providers the ability to set, remove, manage, view and exercise their access delegations and gives administration staff the ability to request delegation
  • introducing two new services under ‘My programs’, replacing paper‑based application forms for registration of a seed organisation in the Healthcare Identifiers Service and My Health Record, and renewal or cancellation of a pathology registration
  • introducing a new mailbox for pathology registration to enable secure two‑way communications
  • introducing enhanced security through suspension of HPOS accounts after six months of inactivity, with simple self‑reactivation
  • increasing the number of forms that can be filled and submitted online through HPOS.

Table 4: Access to HPOS services








Accesses to HPOS(b)






(a) This figure represents the number of HPOS users with an active PKI and PRODA logon type, noting that this is point‑in‑time and users may have both PKI and PRODA. (Note: The term ‘Logons’ was discontinued due to a change in how the figure was calculated.)

(b) This figure represents the cumulative number of logons to access HPOS within the given financial year.

(c) Not previously reported. This figure represents the cumulative number of service activities and functions performed in HPOS within the financial year.

Letters and forms

Customers can receive letters online through their myGov inbox or have a hard copy posted to their mailing address. Customers who receive letters online are sent an SMS messaging or email from myGov to let them know that they have a new letter in their inbox.

The department promotes letters online as a convenient digital service that supports customers who are managing their interactions with the department through an integrated and secure digital channel. The department continues to encourage people to receive their letters online rather than have them sent in hard copy to their mailing address. Letters sent online arrive in a customer’s inbox faster than through the post and are archived within their online account for two years. Online letters also help to reduce the number of letters mailed and therefore reduce the department’s paper and postage costs.

Table 5: Registrations for social welfare service online letters




% change since 2017–18






Registered as at 30 June





% registered as at 30 June





In 2018–19, the department sent 67,311,664 letters online, compared with 62,022,682 in 2017–18. The number of letters sent through the post decreased from 52,110,062 in 2017–18 to 50,779,149 in 2018–19.

Table 6: Online letters




% change since 2017–18











Child Support





Total letters online





The department also continues to review the content of letters and forms to ensure customers can readily understand them. The department applies plain language principles to its materials so that they are expressed in a simple, clear and readable way. The department uses literacy measurements, user testing and controlled trials to measure the readability of written materials.

The department offers customers printable and downloadable claim forms (where the customer prints the form, fills it in by hand and posts it to us) as well as online claim forms (where the customer fills in the form directly online without having to print and post the form). As online claim forms are convenient and easy to access, they are becoming more popular.

The number of forms printed and distributed by the department reduced from 7,505,672 in 2017–18 to 3,504,000 in 2018–19. This is because online claims and digital forms are more readily available to customers and can be submitted through digital channels. Aligning with the digital strategy, the department continues its work to reduce the number of forms, including through the use of alternative avenues for information collection.

Electronic document scanning

The department encourages customers to upload their own documents through self service channels. This provides increased accessibility and flexibility for customers and enables staff anywhere in Australia to quickly access and update records using the information. If a customer chooses to provide the department with documents in person or via post, the documents are electronically scanned and stored. The volume of paper documents lodged continues to decline as a result of the increased digital options available to customers.

Social media

Social media continued to play an important community engagement role in 2018–19. Social media is particularly effective in ensuring that the public receives important information, from myGov updates to disaster response service arrangements, as quickly as possible.

Our 17 accounts reached a combined audience of 23,974,040 with service delivery messages. We received 146,561 posts and responded to 63,386 questions. In peak periods we averaged 27,046 incoming social media posts and 13,969 responses per month.

Subscriber numbers grew to more than 335,535, with Family Update and Human Services accounts consolidating strong audiences.

A list of all social media accounts can be found at humanservices.gov.au/socialmedia

Online claims

In 2018–19, over 80 per cent of claims submitted to the department for Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Parenting Payment, Parental Leave Pay, Dad and Partner Pay, Age Pension, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Sickness Allowance, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance and Mobility Allowance were submitted online.

Customers who submit claims online can use their Centrelink online account or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to track their claim. The claim tracker provides progress updates to the recipient, ensuring they have access to an online end-to-end service, reducing manual processes and helping them to use self service.

Document Lodgement Service

The Document Lodgement Service is a quick and easy way for customers to submit documents online. Customers can use the service through their Centrelink online account and Express Plus mobile apps.

This service is popular with people who want to submit their documents electronically. Over 10.4 million documents were submitted in 2018–19, with an average of over 28,400 lodged each day.

The steady increase in electronic lodgement of documents can be attributed to staff promotion of the service and the introduction of a broad range of online claims. This enables people to upload and submit documents (additional information) before they submit their online claims.

Express Plus mobile apps

More and more Australians prefer to access government services using mobile apps. The department’s Express Plus mobile apps continue to be a popular and convenient way for people to engage with government services, allowing them to have access to services anywhere at any time. Mobile apps offer digital services allowing users to, for example, upload documents, report income, claim Medicare benefits, view Child Support account balances, and keep a personal diary.

Since their introduction, users have downloaded the department’s Express Plus mobile apps more than 15.4 million times. In 2018–19, over 2.1 million apps were downloaded (an average of over 5,900 downloads per day).