The New South Wales government wants to go digital with licences, pledging to make the shift to smartphones within four years if they win the March 28 election.
The state issues 123 different licences, from boating to beekeeping and shooting. With around 2.8 million plastic cards issued in NSW annually, finance and services minister Dominic Perrottet, estimates the shift to digital could save the government could save millions in printing.
It would be optional and not an end to printed licences
“We will target digital formats for a range of common licences, including NSW photo cards, boat and fishing licences, and eventually drivers’ licences,” Perrottet said.
The announcement comes after Iowa in the USA announced it was trialing digital licences in December. The app is due out this year. Delaware is also going digital.
Whether requirements such as the need to have a licence with you at all times, have yet to be addressed. What happens when your phone is flat is another problem. And the next time police pull you over for using your phone while driving, could you argue you were getting your driver’s licence out?
The minister said NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione is supporting the transition. Officers are increasingly using digital technology, especially to identify unregistered vehicles.
The government will ask the Digital Council to explore issues such as privacy, security, regulation and legislation and make a series of recommendations to the government about implementation.
“While the private sector has shifted to digital, the NSW Government must do the same,” Perrottet said.
An estimated 80% of all adults will own a smartphone globally by 2020.