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Government kicks off NBN video conferencing pilot

The trial aims to increase access for rural Australians to services such as Centrelink and Medicare

The Federal Government has kicked off a video conferencing pilot over the National Broadband Network (NBN) which aims to give regional Australians increased access to services such as Medicare and Centrelink.

The trial will offer customers access to services under the Department of Human Services (DHS) portfolio which is part way through consolidating Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.

A spokesperson for the DHS told Computerworld Australia that consultations with customers began this month, while the first three pilot sites -- Sorrel, Tasmania, Armidale, NSW and Toowoomba in Queensland -- are scheduled to begin offering services in July.

According to the spokesperson, the pilot will run for a period of between two to three years with the government planning an evaluation of the program in 2015.

Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr, said the pilot would focus on improving the DHS' service to Australians.

"This pilot will be particularly beneficial for people in regional locations or families and customers facing social disadvantage who may find it otherwise difficult to get to a DHS Service Centre," Carr said in a statement.

Carr said the pilot would be designed, and sites identified, through consultation with customers, third parties, staff and key stakeholders.

Computerworld Australia is waiting for further comment from the DHS on the pilot.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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