New South Wales residents will be given the choice of adding their Medicare card to the Service NSW app and viewing their digital driver’s licence in myGov after the federal and state governments struck an agreement to work more closely on digital.
Government Services minister Bill Shorten and New South Wales Customer Service and Digital Government minister Victor Dominello announced the pact on Tuesday, heralding a step change in the bipartisanship between the two governments.
“Australian citizens reasonably expect that they should be able to go to one digital door and deal with all government services. We’ve got the technology available from your smartphone, it’s about time that Australia joined the 21st Century,” Mr Shorten said.
The agreement, which comes only a day after the myGov user audit urged the Commonwealth to forge closer ties with the states and territories on digital services, will surface the Medicare card in the Service NSW app, giving users their first federal credential since vaccine certificates.
It will also see NSW digital driver’s licence accessible in myGov for the first time. Almost 4.4 million motorists – or around 80 per cent of all drivers – have now opted for a digital driver’s licence, up from 3.3 million in September 2021.
Service NSW has been in talks with the federal government to bring a digital Medicare card to its app for at least the last year following feedback from its app users, but the inclusion of the digital driver’s licence in myGov is a new development.
Both governments will now work to bring credentials to their respective platforms as early as July, but it is also possible the features will land in August or September as there are “plenty of technical matters to be worked out”, Mr Shorten said.
While the “breakthrough” agreement is initially focused on improving accessibility of credentials in the myGov and Service NSW app, Mr Shorten said the federal government “won’t stop with the [NSW] driver’s licence”.
“The good news is at least for Australians who live in New South Wales, they’ll have a federal and state government talking to each other and that you’ll be able to access digital information and identification a lot easier than it currently is,” he said.
“And I hope that other states in the Commonwealth take up the same opportunities that New South Wales has.”
Mr Dominello, who has been pushing for closer ties with Canberra on digital for years, described the agreement as a “real powerful step forward to empower people in Australia and here in New South Wales with choice”.
“Because of Mr Shorten’s leadership, we’re able to connect these two important dots to give the people choice, and that’s the way it should be. We need to empower people,” he said on Wednesday.
Mr Dominello said the agreement is “not just about moving credentials where people like, its about setting up a framework to resolve some wrinkles in the digital system at the moment”, including by breaking down long-established silos.
“Ultimately, if people want to have their [digital] birth certificate… on their Service NSW app, so be it. If they want it on their myGov app, so be it. If they want it on both, so be it. If they want it on their Google or Apple wallet provided the privacy and security settings are in place, so be it.
“This is about empowering people to have more control of their life and their lifestyle,” Mr Dominello said.
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