Government extends My Health Record opt-out period

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The Morrison government has backed down in the face of a likely Senate defeat and extended the My Health Record opt-out period until 31 January.

The period under which Australians can opt-out of the My Health Record system, which will create a summary of a person's key health information, was meant to expire later today.

Health minister Greg Hunt had until yesterday consistently argued against an extension despite the parliament not having time to consider and approve changes to the system recommended by a Senate committee.

However, the government relented after shadow health minister Catherine King said Labor would move to amend the enabling legislation in the Senate to extend the opt-out period by 12 months.

The government relented with the support of crossbenchers to extend the period by over two months.

The extension was confirmed as reports indicated the opt-out website administered by the Australian Digital Health Agency crashed for a period on Wednesday.

Mr Hunt accused Labor of planning to "derail" rollout of the My Health Record.

Ms King said the government had been "dragged kicking and screaming" into accepting an extension.

"For months, Labor has been calling for an extension in order to get this important reform right. For months, the Liberals have been insisting there was no need for an extension."

She continued, "It’s extraordinary that Labor had to force the Government’s hand by introducing legislation to make this happen.

"Minister Hunt could have implemented an extension with the stroke of a pen weeks ago."