SA govt to trial digital drivers' licences

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SA govt to trial digital drivers' licences

Digital tokens to be stored online, accessible from smartphones.

The South Australian government is set to follow in the footsteps of New South Wales by running a trial of digital identity cards - including drivers’ licences - which can be displayed on a smartphone.

The pilot program will see the state government issue digital tokens that are stored online and can be accessed from mobile devices, which it hopes will eventually supersede physical printed licences.

SA's Consumer and Business Services agency has revealed that it is investigating the rollout of digital licences to tradespeople ahead of a broader trial.

Alongside drivers’ licences, the scheme will eventually incorporate other forms of identity such as seniors’ cards, national parks passes, boat licences and trade certifications.

However the pilot program will be offered on an opt-in basis and plastic cards will still be available to people who do not use a smartphone.

The state government says it is still not sure whether any legislative changes will be necessary for the program to go ahead.

In a statement, South Australian Minister for the Public Sector Susan Close said digital passes would reduce the cost of replacing lost or stolen cards, while also reducing wallet clutter.

“Security of such a scheme will be particularly important, so we’ll be looking to see what forms of identification can be safely and securely stored online, when establishing which cards will be part of this pilot project,” Close said.

The scheme follows the release of the state government’s ‘digital by default’ IT policy in November 2014.

Under the policy, government bodies have no choice but to design new transactions so they can be accessed via the internet, are smartphone friendly, and meet accessibility guidelines.

The South Australian trial comes after NSW became the first state in Australia to commit to moving to digital drivers' licences, with Premier Mike Baird making the trial a key plank of his 2015 election campaign.

NSW Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet later announced the scheme would initially digitise recreational fishing licences, responsible service of alcohol (RSA) and responsible conduct of gambling (RCG) competency cards.

Other common licences, such as boat licences and proof-of-age cards, will be digitised progressively before early 2017, however NSW motorists will have to wait until the end of 2018 to get fully electronic vehicle licences.

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