The COVIDSafe app introduced by the Morrison government in 2020 has been decommissioned after a Senate select committee branded it an expensive failure and the health minister said state governments hadn’t used it for months.
The app was updated on Tuesday night to remove all its functionality. Users opening the app are now greeted with the message “Please uninstall COVIDSafe”. On Wednesday, Health Minister Mark Butler said the app did little but burn through money.
Health Minister Mark Butler said contact tracers working on the ground were far more effective than the COVIDSafe app.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“It is clear this app failed as a public health measure, and that’s why we’ve acted to delete it,” he said. “This failed app was a colossal waste of more than $21 million of taxpayers’ money.”
Butler said while the app had 7.9 million registrations, fewer than 800 users consented to having their data added to the national store. Since its launch in April 2020, the app had identified only two positive cases that were not found by manual contact tracing, he said.