Queenslanders will be able to access digital driver’s licences from 2023, with the first major trial to take place in the coastal city of Townsville later this year.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed the timeline for the state-wide rollout on Thursday after an initial trial in the regional Queensland towns of Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
The six-month trial tested the digital photo cards, learner licences and marine licences with select participants between March 2020 and September 2020.
Palaszczuk said the Fraser Coast trial – which has continued in the months since – had been successful, with users reporting a 94 percent satisfaction rating.
“It’s happening – Queenslanders will be able to use digital driver licences from 2023,” she announced in Facebook post on Thursday.
“Townsville will be the first major city to trial the digital licence app later this year.”
Much like the 2020 trial, Townsville residents with a current driver’s licence, photo card or marine licence will be able to take part in the trial by registering their interest.
Additional licence types offered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads are expected to be added in the future.
Queensland became only the third state or territory to progress down the path of digital driver’s licences in 2018, when it began looking for a vendor to develop an app.
It eventually settled on French engineering heavyweight Thales for the trial in January 2020, alongside Brisbane-based development firms Aliva and Code Heroes.
The government said in a statement later on Thursday that it had now signed a contract with Thales to deliver the second trial in Townsville.
Thales will spend the next few months finalising the development and delivery of the app before it is rolled out across the state next year.
It follows a “comprehensive evaluation process” that saw additional planning and preparation activities, including users workshops, conducted, a spokesperson told iTnews.
Transport minister Mark Bailey said the app is now being “upgraded based on feedback from the Fraser Coast trial”, with new functionality and options also being added.
He added that the Fraser Coast trial had given the government “the confidence that we're on the right track to ensuring [a] smooth and successful rollout”.
Thales A/NZ CEO Chris Jenkins said the company was excited to continue the partnership following the initital trial.
“This solution is an Australia-first, meeting the International Mobile Driver Licence Standard ISO 18013-5, which was published last year,” he said.
“This will allow the state’s digital driver licences to be recognised and used all over the world.”
Queensland's digital driver’s licence journey follows South Australia and NSW, which have had their own offerings since September 2017 and October 2019, respectively.
In NSW, almost four million – or 70 percent of – drivers in NSW have now taken up the plastic card alternative, as at 15 February.
Updated at 5:20pm on 25 February to provide additional comment from the Department of Transport and Main Roads