Services Australia is switching providers for contact centre management services from Telstra to Optus.

The agency told iTnews that it is treating the change as “an opportunity to modernise [its] telephony systems.”

It characterises its contact centre as the largest such operation in the Southern Hemisphere, handling “over 1 billion online transactions and 55 million calls annually.” 

“It’s vital we have efficient and effective tools and capabilities in place to support our customers,” a Services Australia spokesperson said.

Optus will provide a cloud-based contact centre platform and related connectivity services for agents employed by Services Australia.

“Optus’ modern, cloud-based contact centre solution – which they use for their own contact centres – provides us with known capability, and the flexibility and scalability we need to support whole-of-government policy objectives, and to modernise our services into the future,” the spokesperson said.

“Optus is an Australian leader in integrated communications, supported by a network that spans throughout Australia.”

The agency said Optus’ other federal government contracts, including with Home Affairs, the ATO, Defence, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), were reviewed favourably in terms of its capability.

The existing Telstra-based contact centre platform and connectivity will be maintained through to the end of 2025 while Optus deploys its own system, for continuity purposes.

Contracts showing the value of the deal are yet to be published.

The change comes as Services Australia undergoes a major revamp of its telecommunications systems, for the first time in 12 years.

As iTnews reported in January, the agency has set up a telecommunications services program or TSP, which is intended to give both Services Australia and up to 10 entities that rely on it for ICT, “a new set of world class telecommunications capabilities.”

So far, it has contracted Telstra to deliver corporate telephony services through to 2026 under a $17.7 million deal, and mobile services to the end of 2025 for just shy of $8 million.

“Our contract with Telstra has underpinned our core service delivery and corporate telecommunications for more than a decade,” the spokesperson said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Telstra as our staff-facing telephony partner.”

Other parts of the TSP are yet to be contracted.