Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:42): (1496) My constituency question today is for Minister Pearson acting as Minister for Government Services. I have been contacted by a number of my constituents who have faced difficulties with the new technological requirements of coming out of lockdown. They have found it a stressful experience attempting to sign up for the Medicare ID on the MyGov app and then linking it to their phone and then linking it to the Service Victoria app. Last year I was informed by my local neighbourhood house that many of their older participants were not coming in for their usual classes due to the stress associated with using a QR code. So my question is: given how much of our COVID normal relies on technology use, what is the government doing to ease the somewhat stressful experience for our senior citizens?
Answered: 16 December 2021- Hon . Danny Pearson
Support for older Victorians to access their COVID-19 Digital Certificate
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has created content tailored specifically for older people, community groups and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences. These include step-by-step instructions in 15 different languages which will be shared on government social channels, websites and made available for community leaders to share with their stakeholders. Seniors Card holders have also been emailed detailed information on how to get their COVID-19 Digital Certificate.
Importantly, as a digital solution may not be suitable for everyone the Chief Health Officer’s Direction provide for non-digital options for demonstrating vaccination status. Further details on alternative options are included below.
Support for linking Medicare, myGov and the Service Victoria app
The Victorian Government has established appropriate procedures to ensure that people experiencing issues with Commonwealth Government systems such myGov and Medicare can receive appropriate support from the Commonwealth.
Victorians who are having problems setting up, or linking, their myGov account should contact Services Australia’s myGov helpdesk on 13 23 07 or follow online help guides located at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/online-help/mygov.
Victorian contact centres have been provided with increased resources to assist those needing help to download their Digital COVID-19 Certificate to their Service Victoria App. This will help with an anticipated increase in demand as Victoria continues to reopen in line with the Victorian Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan.
A range of resources have also been created for those who require further assistance to access their COVID-19 Digital Certificate. This includes information available through the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website and an online help centre from Service Victoria. These online resources include a Service Victoria video that provides a visual step-by-step guide to downloading a COVID-19 Digital Certificate.
Alternative options for proving vaccination status using non-digital options
The Victorian Government remains committed to ensuring that non-digital options exist for Victorians to safely participate in their communities and the vaccinated economy.
The Chief Health Officer’s Directions[i] provide alternatives for people who do not have access to a smart phone or prefer to not use digital options. The Open Premises Directions (No. 3)[ii] provides for the use of printed material as acceptable evidence of vaccination:
“a printed version of the COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement issued by the vaccination provider, a medical practitioner or the Australian Immunisation Register, but does not include a copy of the COVID-19 digital certificate that is printed by the person”;
An individual can access their immunisation history statement (IHS) using the myGov website.
Alternatively, they may choose to request a copy from their doctor, their vaccination provider or by calling Services Australia on 1800 653 809. However, it may take up to 14 days for their IHS to arrive in the post.
Further information on COVID-19 Digital Certificates in the Service Victoria app
On 17 September 2021 the National Cabinet agreed that all jurisdictions agreed to integrate an individual’s record of COVID-19 immunisation history into state and territory check-in apps.
The COVID-19 Digital Certificate available for linking through the Service Victoria app uses the same information, provided by the Commonwealth, contained in an individual’s IHS.
Victoria was the first jurisdiction to successfully integrate with Commonwealth system and introduce this important capability on 11 October 2021. This early release provided the opportunity for Victorians to download their digital certificate ahead of restrictions easing.
As at 3 November 2021, more than 3.15 million COVID-19 digital certificates had been downloaded to individuals’ Service Victoria apps.
Service Victoria does not retain a copy of an individual’s COVID-19 digital certificate. The certificate is stored on an individual’s device and only the device’s user has access to the certificate.
For many people, including the COVID-19 Digital Certificate in their Service Victoria app provides the most convenient solution for everyday use. Digital certificates also help to reduce the certificate fraud by including features not available in printed versions.