Home Affairs has said it is committed to improving its digitised version of the incoming traveller declaration after receiving scathing reviews from users since it was launched last month.
The Digital Passenger Declaration replaced the Australia Travel Declaration in February, with all passengers arriving by air in Australia having to fill it out. This is done through a smartphone app, where users have to provide contact details, vaccination status confirmation and travel history.
It’s the first iteration of the government’s permissions capability, which will eventually also serve to digitise the paper-based incoming passenger card and visa processing, and will ultimately be used across a number of government services.
The Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) has been delivered by Irish-domiciled consulting firm Accenture across a series of contracts relating to the purchasing of off-the-shelf technology and ongoing work.
The DPD has now been used by more than 770,000 incoming passengers, with about 20,000 forms submitted through it every day.
After launch a month ago, the app has been widely slammed across both the Apple and Google app stores, with complaints centred on issues in the app scanning passports and vaccination certificates, signing into the app and registering in the first place.
On the Google Play app store, the government app has a one star rating out of a total of 170 reviews.
Some of the reviews label the Digital Passenger Declaration a “complete waste of time”, a “terribly implemented app”, “hopelessly useless” and a “next to useless app”.
On the Apple App Store, the app has a rating of 2.9 stars out of five.
A spokesperson for Home Affairs said the Department is “actively monitoring” feedback and will be making improvements to the app.
“The Department is committed to enhancing the Digital Passenger Declaration. User feedback is actively monitored and considered. Improvements have, and will continue to be made, to the DPD apps over the coming months,” the Home Affairs spokesperson told InnovationAus.com.
Individuals soon to be entering Australia via air can fill out the form on the app seven days out from a flight and submit it within 72 hours of departure in order to provide health information and vaccination and test declarations.
It replaces a previous paper-based form used during the pandemic.
If an individual is unable to use the DPD app or to complete the form on it, then will be referred to an Australian Border Force officer for a manual checking process.
The same app will eventually be used for the incoming passenger declaration card too, and is part of the wider permissions capability project.
Accenture won a lucrative contract to deliver this permissions capability, and has been awarded contracts worth about $60 million for this work.
Through these contracts, the federal government has purchased off-the-shelf technology from Accenture and also brought it on board for ongoing work on the service.
Further funding for the project was provided in last year’s MYEFO update but the exact amount was kept secret due to commercial-in-confidence sensitivities.
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