New South Wales treasurer announces rollout of 'Australia's first' digital driver's licences, two years after South Australia

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  • Unveiling the state budget, the New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet boasted he would give the state the first digital driver’s licences in the country, not realising South Australia introduced them back in October 2017.
  • The announcement was made more embarrassing by the fact that the treasurer went on to claim that ‘no one who comes to Australia comes to Adelaide’.
  • The roll-out of digital licences in New South Wales will begin later this year.

State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet proudly boasted on Tuesday that his government would make New South Wales the first state in the country with digital licences.

It would have been a great precedent for the treasurer to set had another Australian state not beat him to the punch almost two years ago.

“After successful trials in key locations, New South Wales drivers will be the first in the country to have the choice of a digital driver’s licence from August this year,” Perrottet said in his speech unveiling the NSW budget.

Unfortunately for the treasurer, South Australia bestowed that honour on its drivers way back in October 2017 – a fact confirmed to Business Insider Australia by a Service South Australia representative.

But that wasn’t all.

In the same speech, Perrottet called out Victoria which, the treasurer clucked, had “copied our Service NSW approach”.

Assumedly the treasurer wasn’t aware of the irony, given he had just copied Service South Australia.

The misjudgement was made worse by the fact Perrottet used the same speech to go out of his way to taunt the city of churches.

“No one who comes to Australia comes to Adelaide,” he said as he tried to make an argument for why Sydney, and not Adelaide, should receive federal infrastructure funding.

Perrottet’s bizarre running feud with South Australia aside, New South Wales drivers should be able to ditch their physical licences later this year under the plan.

“Smartphones have become de facto wallets and we’re using cutting edge technology so that drivers can use a digital licence in everyday scenarios,” NSW’s Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominellos said regarding the release.

Licences will be accessible on smartphones with the pin-protected MyServiceNSW app for security.

Some licences already been issued in the state, with 14,000 drivers in Dubbo, Albury and Sydney’s eastern suburbs currently participating in a trial.

Drivers living in the requisite postcodes can apply to join the trialbut will be required to carry their physical licence as well.

The program will remain an opt-in initiative, with the government assuring the public it, much like South Australia, has no plan to replace physical IDs entirely.

A spokesperson from Perrottet’s office has since told Business Insider Australia that the NSW app will be the first in Australia to be fully offline – not quite the groundbreaking achievement the treasurer originally claimed.

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