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Data error raises serious concerns about Department’s IT capability

Today’s announcement by the Andrews Labor Government that 149 test results were not reported on 26 and 27 September due to a software glitch raises serious concerns about the reliability of the reporting systems being used to record COVID-19 test results and cases by the Department of Health.

Throughout the pandemic, the Andrews Labor Government’s IT capability has shown to be a disaster. Contact tracing was initially done with a pen and paper system and it failed during the second wave. Despite an inquiry identifying multiple failures and a new digital system being brought online, it’s worrying to see data errors and software glitches still occurring.

In the last few weeks, the Department has had to add a disclaimer to the online list of exposure sites, stating that not all are listed. If the Department can tell people they have been at an exposure site using QR code check-in data, what is so hard about simultaneously updating the exposure site list?

It would seem there are still significant issues with basic computer tasks within the Department despite the government spending millions of dollars and claiming to have a “gold standard” system.

Whilst Minister Foley has reassured Victorians that this is a one-off error, it raises the question, how many data errors have gone unnoticed within the contact tracing system and the Department of Health more broadly?

Comments attributable to Shadow Health Minister, Georgie Crozier:

“When the Andrews Labor Government has used case numbers and other COVID-19 data as a justification to keep Victorians locked down, it must drop the spin and come clean on how many unreported software issues there have been within the Department’s IT systems and just how reliable these systems are.

“Labor has had more than 18 months to put systems in place to correctly and accurately collect information on COVID-19, yet even today, these systems remain unreliable.

“Despite the Andrews Labor Government spending millions of dollars to upgrade the Department of Health’s IT systems, including contact tracing, it’s a worry that there are still ongoing issues.”

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