18 November 2016 – Letter to the Editor of The Canberra Times

I write to correct the latest example of lazy reporting by Noel Towell in The Canberra Times (‘DHS change program tipped to be challenge’, page 9, 18 November 2016).

Mr Towell misrepresented comments made by Deputy Secretary John Murphy at this week’s GovInnovate conference which appeared in an appropriately balanced article from another publication. Your headline, which wrongly portrayed our staff, was outrageous. Had you properly researched the article, or even attended the conference, you would have found Mr Murphy spoke about “very talented, highly skilled people”. We know our staff are up for the challenges ahead because the bond that drives our workforce is a passion for delivering the best possible services to the Australian community.

Again, we weren’t approached for comment. Had you provided us with the opportunity we would have set the record straight on this point and other inaccuracies. For example, the replacement of Centrelink and Medicare payment systems are separate programmes – Mr Murphy spoke exclusively about the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme, which will replace the Centrelink payment system. Further, our relationship with SAP is subject to further discussions on commercial matters, including value for money.

We expect Mr Towell and The Canberra Times to report accurately and fairly; to diligently check the facts and to provide us with a right of reply. We hope in future you can avoid more misinformation being reported as fact.