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.”
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.
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