NSW licences go digital


The NSW government is moving to digitise a range of licences for driving, recreational fishing, gaming and the hospitality sector. 

In a show of support for digital services, NSW Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet has unveiled moves to make the first three government licences available in a digital format from mid-2016. The state becomes one of the first to to enable citizens to choose digital licences and use their smartphones. The New Year sees a raft of reforms laying the groundwork for digital services. Security and safety features are being built into these licences for citizens and business.

Introducing the NSW Digital Licence means the days of multiple plastic cards clogging up precious wallet-space are numbered. The first licences going digital are the Recreational Fishing Fee, the Responsible Service of Alcohol, and the Responsible Conduct of Gambling Competency cards.

The NSW initiative is more than just displaying licences on a smartphone. “This technology will allow our citizens to display, apply, update and renew their licences using their smartphone, with real-time information also available,” Perrottet said.

The Digital Licence has security safeguards built-in. Authorities can more easily verify the validity of these licences. Each year, NSW issues more than 23 million licenses. These cover 769 different licence types. Digital Licences will be progressively made available to customers. Another five common licence types are being rolled out by early 2017.  A Digital Driver Licence becomes available by the end of 2018.

The state’s digital offerings will save tens of millions of dollars, while making NSW one of the first places in the world where citizens can choose a digital licence and display this on smartphones.

During the transition phases, physical licences are available for those who prefer one. People can choose between a digital licence instead of a plastic card. 

The government earlier tasked its Digital Council to examine ways to transition licences into digital formats. This council is working through the security, privacy and regulatory issues. There are currently over 123 different licence types in NSW. The state issues over 2.8 million plastic cards each year.