NSW Government commits to digital licensing

NSW Government commits to digital licensing

Government to digitise NSW photo cards, boat and fishing licences, and eventually drivers’ licences

NSW license holders could soon have the option of ditching their plastic credentials for a digital copy.

If re-elected, the state government has promised to oversee a transition to digital licensing over the next four years.

The government will task its Digital Council, chaired by the Customer Service Commissioner, Mike Pratt, to develop a roadmap for taking all licences digital.

Finance and services minister, Dominic Perrottet, said customers were doing more transactions on their smartphones.

"From cafes to banks, businesses are offering customers the opportunity to access their services, loyalty programs and payment systems through smartphone apps,” he said.

“While the private sector has shifted to digital, the NSW Government must do the same.

There are currently over 123 different licence types and the government issues over 2.8 million plastic cards each year, costing tens of millions of dollars in printing.

Perrottet said the government would target digital formats for a range of common licences, including NSW photo cards, boat and fishing licences, and eventually drivers’ licences.

"Over time, this means that citizens will not need to carry around multiple licences in their wallets," he said.

“This commitment is the first of its kind in Australia, and we will ensure our digital licensing system is at the cutting edge of international best practice,” he said.

Perrottet said he looked forward to a more convenient licensing system for customers.

“Other jurisdictions such as Iowa and Delaware in the US have already announced a move to digital drivers’ licences,” he said.

“I look forward to working with the Digital Council to ensure that security, privacy and regulatory issues are worked through.”

“The Police Commissioner is a strong supporter of this reform, and he will be consulted closely during the implementation of this exciting initiative.”

The Digital Council will include a range of experts from across government (including Police, Roads and Maritime Services, Office of Finance and Services and Service NSW) and will also seek input from leading digital practitioners in the corporate sector.

The Council will work through a range of practical, security and regulatory considerations to ensure that the NSW Government can deliver digital licences in the next term of government.

Futurist and honorary associate from the digital cultures Program at the University of Sydney said consumers now increasingly expect services on their smartphones.

"In 2020, 80 per cent of all adults will own a smartphone – worldwide,” he said.

“These digital licenses are a natural next step, part of a significant shift to government services delivered immediately and wirelessly, everywhere."

Perrottet said the Baird Government was committed to a digital future for NSW.

“This is all about offering our citizens choice and convenience,” he said. “People expect to transact with government online, when they want and how they want – and we intend to meet those expectations," he said.”

People will be able to choose whether they would prefer a digital licence on an opt-in basis. Physical licences will continue to be available.

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