NSW drives ahead with digital driver’s licence

NSW Minister for Finance & Services Dominic Perrottet has announced a plan to migrate the state’s drivers to digital licensing over the next four years, allowing them to whip out their smartphone instead of their wallet next time they are asked by a friendly constable.

In the middle of a tight election campaign, the NSW Government has hatched the plan to make life simpler for drivers and cut the costs of issuing millions of plastic licences

 “While the private sector has shifted to digital, the NSW Government must do the same.

“There are currently over 123 different licence types and we issue over 2.8 million plastic cards each year, costing us tens of millions of dollars in printing,” said Mr Perrottet.

“We will target digital formats for a range of common licences, including NSW photo cards, boat and fishing licences, and eventually drivers’ licences. Over time, this means that citizens will not need to carry around multiple licences in their wallets.

“This commitment is the first of its kind in Australia, and we will ensure our digital licensing system is at the cutting edge of international best practice,” he said.

 “Other jurisdictions such as Iowa and Delaware in the US have already announced a move to digital drivers’ licences,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Digital Council to ensure that security, privacy and regulatory issues are worked through.”

“The Police Commissioner is a strong supporter of this reform, and he will be consulted closely during the implementation of this exciting initiative.”

Mark Pesce, futurist and Honorary Associate from the Digital Cultures Program at the University of Sydney said consumers now increasingly expect services on their smartphones.

"In 2020 80% of all adults will own a smartphone – worldwide,” he said. “These digital licenses are a natural next step, part of a significant shift to government services delivered immediately and wirelessly, everywhere."

People will be able to choose whether they would prefer a digital licence on an opt-in basis. Physical licences will continue to be available.