Saturday, 17 October 2020
Media release

Joint media release with Hon Stuart Robert MP - Preparing Australia for reopening to the world: a smarter, easier, more secure national border

​​The Australian Government is taking further steps to prepare for the safe opening of global travel with the announcement of a digital system that will support the quick and secure collection of incoming passenger information and replace the Incoming Passenger Card.

The new Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) will be completed by Australia-bound travellers on their mobile device or computer.

Currently, passenger contact and declaration information is collected on paper cards, which are then scanned and processed manually. In a COVID world, this information is an invaluable source for contact tracing and the manual process could slow down efforts to control the virus.

The DPD will facilitate information being collected and shared more efficiently while still using the same authority for collection. The DPD will also allow certified COVID vaccination certificates to be digitally uploaded and connected if and when they become available.

Home Affairs will also develop a simple digital visa product to test the integration capabilities of the system. It is envisaged that other visas would be progressively digitised on the new system, making them easier to access, more secure and have greater integrity.

A new underlying digital platform will be built to support these initial applications. It will be built as a reusable, whole of government, permissions capability, in the same manner the Australian Government is developing a single entitlements platform that supports multiple departments.

This new permissions platform will then enable further digitisation and simplification of how people access services across government, such as permits, accreditations, licences and registrations.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the Permissions Capability will help Australia reopen to the world.

“This capability will put us in a prime position to successfully reopen our borders in a COVID-safe way to help with the rebuilding of Australia’s economy,” Mr Tudge said.

“On top of that, it will significantly streamline our national response to COVID-19 and our contact tracing capabilities by speeding up information collection and processing.

“Currently, the government collects a range of passenger information, including contact details, customs and biosecurity information from citizens and non-citizens entering Australia using a manual, paper based process.

“This new capability will strip away the need to scan paper cards. It will facilitate data sharing between state and territory health departments and enable swift verification of information provided by passengers.

“In the future, collection and verification of information will assist in managing risk at the international border when international travel returns.”

Minister Robert said taking a whole of government approach for the Permissions Capability will not just underpin the modernisation of travel systems, but it will be a capability that can be reused across government for other similar permission-based services such as permits, accreditation, licenses and registrations.

“As I announced in July, the Morrison Government has a bold vision to deliver services that are simple, helpful, respectful and transparent,” Mr Robert said.

“Today’s announcement is a major step forward in delivering that vision, whilst having the benefit of building a strategic, foundational platform for our whole of government ICT architecture.

“This build/buy once, reuse many times approach will reduce duplication of ICT investment and address the current risks and costs of ageing, siloed systems—saving a significant amount of taxpayers’ money while simultaneously improving government service delivery performance.

“Our goal is for people and businesses to access government services as easily as they can and with as little intervention as possible, just like when you do online shopping or banking. The new Digital Passenger Declaration will do just that and help us re-open borders in a safe and responsible way.”

An open market Request for Tender will be issued shortly through AusTender seeking a scalable, innovative Permissions Capability that will be able to address a large number of use cases across government.

An information paper has been released on the role the capability will play in the delivery of government services.  For more information visit Permissions Capability.