This audit would assess how economically and effectively the COVIDSafe app was designed and is being used.
On 26 April 2020, the Australian Government released the COVIDSafe app. The app uses bluetooth wireless technology to find other phones with the COVIDSafe app and records the date, time, distance and duration of contact. It is designed to support the manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. When the app was released, the Minister for Health described it as 'one of the critical tools we will use to help protect the health of the community by quickly alerting people who may be at risk of having contact with COVID-19'. Around 7 million people had downloaded the app by August 2020.
The first interim report of the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, published in December 2020, found 'the app launched with significant performance issues and has only been of limited effectiveness in its primary function of contact tracing'. The committee recommended the Australian Government commission an independent review into expenditure on, and design of, the COVIDSafe app. The government is yet to respond to this recommendation.
The audit would examine the design and procurement processes for the app, how effectively it has been promoted, and the extent to which it has assisted in contact tracing.