Australia's failed COVIDSafe tracing app has been downloaded more than seven million times but has identified only a handful of cases of coronavirus - and it's still costing taxpayers $100,000 a month.

The app, trumpeted by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "tool we need to get back to normal as much as we can" when it was launched last April, has so far cost the Digital Transformation Authority $6.7 million, a Senate committee was told on Thursday.

The COVIDSafe app has so far cost $6.7 million but identified only 17 cases.
The COVIDSafe app has so far cost $6.7 million but identified only 17 cases.

Despite the time and money put into creating the app and encouraging Australians to use it, the Senate was told in October it had identified only 17 cases and 80 close contacts of COVID-positive people in NSW.

The DTA told parliament on Thursday that in addition to the $100,000 a month Australians were paying to keep the failed app going, another $200,000 a month was being set aside by the authority in case it needed to make any changes to COVIDSafe.

Development of the app cost $5.8 million and roughly $900,000 has been spent hosting it.

Labor's spokesman on government services Bill Shorten said the app "is an absolute waste of space on people's phones".

He said the government had now confirmed keeping it going was a $3.6 million blowout.

Originally published as $6.7 million COVIDSafe app an expensive failure


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