Govt identity inquiry overdue

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

A government inquiry into identity security is running more than two months behind schedule as the Coalition mulls a new iteration of the National Identity Security Strategy.

The review of National Arrangements for the Protection and Management of Identity Information was launched by Home Affairs department last October to “determine ways to enhance or strengthen arrangements that support and govern the protection and management of identity information”.

Led by Roger Wilkins, a former secretary to the Attorney-General’s department, the review was originally scheduled to hand its report to government in November last year, but a Home Affairs spokesperson has confirmed that the inquiry is still ongoing.

“The review of National Arrangements for the Protection and Management of Identity Information has undertaken a range of consultations and received feedback from government agencies, business groups, public advocacy and privacy interest groups as well as the general public,” the spokesperson told

“The feedback to the review has underlined the breadth and complexity of existing identity management arrangements. The review is undertaking further analysis of the issues raised in consultations and will finalise its report in the coming months.”

The government is also yet to release any submissions to the inquiry.

The review could help shape the government’s planned update of the National Identity Security Strategy, an agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories signed in 2007 which underscored the notion that the protection of a person’s identity is a key concern and right for all Australians.

The inquiry is also looking at how effective the current identity arrangements are, and what needs to be done to better protect from identity theft, minimise the impacts of identity crime and better target government services in ways that “respect and promote people’s privacy”.

“Each year, many Australians fall victim to identity crime, with an estimated cost of over $2 billion annually. The effective management and sharing of identity information is also critical to maintaining public trust in the delivery of government services,” the government said last year.

“Citizens want to know what their privacy is maintained and the services being provided are tailored to their needs and easy to use.”

Identity has been a key focus of the federal government, with the Digital Transformation Agency driving the development of the Digital ID.

More than $90 million was allocated to the DTA the 2018 federal budget for the acceleration of its GovPass project, which will be used to verify identities using government services quickly and only once.

The government is also plowing ahead with its controversial facial recognition scheme in partnership with the states and territories, despite a number of privacy and security concerns.

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