Victoria still in discussions on digital driver’s licences

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The Victorian government is still in discussions on the creation of a digital driver’s licence in the state despite this service being available in other jurisdictions for several years.

At a recent budget estimates hearing, government services minister Danny Pearson refused to confirm that the development of a digital version of the Victorian drivers licence is an “active project”, instead only saying that “conversations are occurring” between Service Victoria and the Department of Transport on the issue.

He also did not comment on whether any of the near-$100 million in funding for the new Service Victoria agency will be going towards a digital drivers licence project.

A government spokesperson this week offered little information on the matter, saying: “work is continuing and we’ll have more to say in due course.”

A NSW digital driver’s licence

VicRoads is also understood to be talking to other states to ensure the potential digital drivers licence can operate with other states and territories.

Digital drivers licences are in operation in South Australia and New South Wales, and Queensland is also set to launch its own version next year following trials currently underway.

South Australia was the first jurisdiction to launch digital drivers licences in late 2017 through its myGov SA app, while New South Wales launched its own in October 2019. There are now 4 million digital drivers licences in NSW, well over half of its total drivers.

Queensland has already undertaken trials of its own versions in Maryborough and Hervey Bay, and will conduct another pilot in Townsville this year before a wider rollout in 2023.

Mr Pearson was questioned on Victoria’s apparent slow progress on this service compared to other states at a budget estimates hearing in May by Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien.

“South Australia has had digital drivers licences for five years. You can get a fishing licence online, but you still cannot get one in Victoria. Four million New South Wales drivers have got their licence through the Service NSW app. Why can’t we get it in Victoria?” Mr O’Brien said at the hearing.

In response, Mr Pearson said that conversations are ongoing on the matter.

“We are looking at onboarding a number of different transactions and a number of different licences onto the Services Victoria platform, and I think that from our experience we are in conversations and discussions with the Department of Transport and other departments and agencies about a whole range of matters,” Mr Pearson said.

The Service Victoria app has risen to prominence in recent years, being used by Victorians to verify their Covid-19 vaccination status and to check into venues for the purpose of contact tracing.

Victoria perhaps has the chance to learn some security lessons from NSW, with security experts earlier this year revealing flaws in NSW’s system allowing false names and photos to be displayed on the app.

The experts said that these “secure design flaws” would allow a hacker to brute force licence pins, access digital licence data, edit and re-encrypt it to display a different licence photo and details.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

  1. Albert 1 year ago

    Why does every state have to develop their own version of the same app?
    It would save a lot of taxpayer money if all the states worked together to develop one system that would suit each state’s needs. We need to get away from the “we are unique” attitude and work as one country not 7 individual entities refusing join forces to develop robust and efficient apps.

    • Arvin 1 year ago

      Why you ask? Because of boarders, politics, budgets, being right, being first, being better…all the usual reasons that come with Australia being a federation. The states and territories only come together to collaborate on something if they can palm the cost off to the federal government, otherwise they don’t come together. Like what happened during the pandemic – everyone for themselves. Don’t expect any of this to change. It’s embedded in ‘the system’.

      I must compliment NSW though. Like London and Singapore, you can tap on/off public transport using the credit card on your phone and they’ve already issued 4 million digital drivers licenses. In Victoria you have the multi billion dollar public transport embarrassment called Myki still operating (can take up to 48 hours for top ups via the website to load!) and discussions on digital drivers licenses continue with no timeframe or public disclosure of progress made available.

  2. Paul 1 year ago

    Poor old Victoria ????????????

  3. Tom 1 year ago

    I wanted to know because I dont carry my wallet which contains my licence when I use my bike but I do carry my phone and use my fitbit to pay for things we need a digital licence as a lot of people use thier phone for everything these days.

  4. Abe D 2 years ago

    C’mon already
    Even US states have this now. How ass backwards can we be

    Banking and money is all ok being on mobile. Surely drivers license is not this hard

  5. Sam Salsone 2 years ago

    @Andrew Exactly man!!! Bloody Victoria slow and/or the last or near last state for these sort of things. CDS etc.

  6. Andrew 2 years ago

    Wish they would pull their fingers out and get it done. I use my phone for everything and Drivers License is the only thing missing now.

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