The 2019 federal budget will pour a further $67.2 million into the development of the government's myGovID digital identity system in preparation for full launch later this year.
The new funding, announced on Tuesday, will allow the Digital Transformation Agency to “accelerate” development of the flagship system, including ongoing testing and an expanded pilot program.
It brings funding for the program close to $190 million, following a $92.4 million windfall in last year’s budget for similar acceleration activities.
The DTA is currently trialling the opt-in system with select services through a series of pilot programs.
The first, which kicked off in late October, made the system available to a test group of Australians to apply for a tax file number online in just a few minutes.
That process had previously taken around 40 days to complete, requiring a visit to an Australia Post or Centrelink shopfront or by posting documents to the ATO.
The pilot program has now expanded to two further trials: accessing the Australian Business Registry and grant management systems.
Another five pilots aimed at high volume government transactions are also planned before the end of this financial year.
The new funding will be used to expand the system across all eight pilots, which will enter public beta in the second half of the year ahead of the systems' full public launch.
Integration within myGov
The government will also use the new funding to integrate the digital identity system within the myGov government services portal.
While this has long been expected, it is the first time the government has publically acknowledged the plans after adopting the myGovID moniker last year.
It means that 15 million account holders could soon have the option to use the identity system to access the portal, though the service will likely start life as a trial similar to the DTA's existing pilot programs.
This will likely then extend to most other government services at some point in the future as the government chases its goal of making all government services available through digital channels by 2025.
Speaking at an Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) event in Canberra on Tuesday, Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said “integrating digital identity with myGov is a natural next step”.
“This will enable many Australians to choose a simple and secure way to prove who they are and access services conveniently and securely,” he said.
“However, for those who cannot or choose not to use a digital identity, the current channels for dealing with the government will continue to be available.”
He also reiterated that security and privacy would continue to be baked into the development of the digital identity system, with the additional funding also allowing for ongoing development.
“It is our utmost priority that people’s data is protected online, which is why we are designing and building the appropriate safeguards into the heart of the system at every stage of its development to ensure privacy and security remain paramount,” he said in a statement.
Updated 3:10pm: To include Keenan's AIIA speech comments on integrating myGovID within myGov.