Dominello shifts into reverse on reasons for digital driver's licence delays

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Dominello shifts into reverse on reasons for digital driver's licence delays

Platform stability issues a wrong turn.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello has backed away from previous claims that stability issues with NSW's digital driver’s licence were the cause of delays to the planned state-wide rollout previously slated for August.

Dominello told budget estimates last month that the concerns had forced the government to delay the full launch of the electronic vehicle licence, which is now expected to go live in “late 2019”.

“We had to make sure that the systems were ready to go. I was not confident that they were ready to go at that point,” he told a budget estimates hearing in September.

Asked to detail his concerns with the electronic vehicle licence, Dominello said “just stability in relation to the system”.

But in answers to questions on notice from budget estimates published this week, Dominello appeared to ditch this explanation.

“There is no existing stability issue with the DDL [digital driver licence]. Remaining effort is focused on assuring readiness for state-wide launch,” he said.

He said the platform behind the digital pass had “proven to be highly stable throughout the extensive pilots”, which have taken place in three metropolitan and regional locations over the last two years.

Dubbo was the first regional city to take part in the trial in late 2017, followed by Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs last year and the border city of Albury earlier this year.

However, the trials are currently only catering for a fraction of the 750,000 drivers expected to take up the DDL in the first 12 months after the state-wide launch.

Ahead of that influx, Dominello said the department had been working to “understand potential failure points”, though did not say if this had occurred in the weeks since the rollout was pushed back.

“The DDL will become an important service for customers and the level of customer demand for new services can fluctuate significantly on launch,” he said.

“The DDL also interacts with a range of ICT infrastructure and systems, each of which is subject to varying patterns of demand.

“Accordingly there is an appropriate level of focus and assurance being undertaken prior to launch to understand potential failure points, load limits and to ensure appropriate mitigation plans are in place should they be required.”

Since the government began trialing the DDL program in late 2017, more than 14,000 citizens already using the digital driver’s licence for police checks and to gain access to pubs and clubs in the trial areas.

While participants of the pilot are still required to carry their physical driver's licence, the full rollout will see citizens able to produce either a digital or physical version of their licence when requested.

The DDL project has cost the government $14.65 million to date, which Dominello said includes "investment in base capabilities to be leveraged by government in the future".

The platform is just one of Service NSW's projects that are built on AWS.

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