Australian IT ministers have agreed to develop a national roadmap to ensure a consistent approach to digital identity systems across federal, state and territory jurisdictions.
The decision was taken at a sitting of the Australian Data and Digital Council on Friday, attended by ministers from NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Commonwealth.
It comes a month after ministers recognised a “nationally consistent framework” was needed to “align the digital identity ecosystem”.
The council said that the roadmap forms part of the council’s commitment to “pursue alignment” to the federal government’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF).
At a time when digital identity solutions are still in their infancy across most jurisdictions, a national approach is expected to “ensure consistency and interoperability” on verification.
Such an approach will also “support the ability for commonly held digital identities to be re-used across jurisdictions, and “provide better, more convenient experience for people and businesses”.
The council has also previously noted the need to reduce privacy and fraud risks as another reason for progressing a nationally consistent approach.
The formal agreement is the first major step towards digital identity interoperability across jurisdictions since South Australia agreed to work with the Commonwealth in December 2018.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the pair were to collaborate on digital identity to simplify and improve how citizens and businesses interact with the government.
It was also intended to give SA residents the ability to use either the federal government’s myGovID digital identity solution or an equivalent state-based system when transacting.
But, as revealed by iTnews last month, myGovID is yet to become an option on most of the federal government’s citizen-facing services, accessible via the myGov online services portal.
Problems experienced during a pilot of the credential on the portal saw the Digital Transformation Agency push back the full rollout until later this year.
The council, which is chaired by federal Government Services Minister Stuart Robert, also noted the need to ensure “digital inclusion for all Australians”.
Ministers agreed that while digital technologies and services present significant opportunities to improve the lives of all Australians citizens, many people are still missing out.
“Ensuring no one is left behind by the digital divide continues to be an area of focus,” the communique states.
Last week, the WA government asked its residents to detail their experience accessing technology and online services in the state in a bid to improve digital inclusion.