Covid Safe App – A$7.8 million of pandemic amusement

Monday, 7 June 2021

The Australian government’s Covid Safe App has been one of the more amusing failures (we need some amusement) from the pandemic. Of course the government has been extremely reluctant to admit how much it cost and how well it has worked, but as of 30 April 2021 it appears to have cost A$7.8 million and is continuing to rack up costs at the rate of A$100,000 a month.



The idea of the app was that if two people had the app on their phone – and they had the appropriate phone make and model and their phones were turned on and could potentially talk to each other – then you’d get a warning if you’d crossed paths with someone and one of you was Covid19 positive.

Of course it didn’t work very well, in fact I thought it hadn’t worked at all, but there is a claim that it has identified 17 positive links. So that would mean it cost A$459,000 each time it warned somebody that they had been close to somebody else with the virus. Doesn’t sound like great value to me?

Nevertheless my app update warning has just notified me that a COVIDSafe update is available which will offer ‘Improved support for international visitors, minor content and bug fixes.’ Well that’s great, particularly since Australia is still banning all international visitors. Unless they’re sports stars or movie stars of course. Oops, or New Zealanders, but then they might not have the right phone?