States and territories ‘united’ as ministers agree to prioritise national digital identity system

By Jackson Graham

February 10, 2022

digital-identity
(terovesalainen/Adobe)

A new national system for citizens to verify their identity online when accessing public services is a top priority for Australia’s digital and data ministers this year. 

The federal government last year underwent consultation for new laws to oversee the Australian Government Digital Identity System, but is yet to introduce the legislation

The government says the new system will make it easier for people to identify themselves online when using government services such as applying for a licence or tax file number.

The legislation would give participation to state and territory governments, establish an oversight authority to govern the identity system, and involve the Office of the Information Commissioner to regulate privacy. 

The nation’s digital and data ministers met this week to discuss the new national system and agreed to make it a top priority for 2022. 

A spokesperson for federal digital minister Stuart Robert told The Mandarin the government was currently considering the timing of the introduction of the bill into parliament. 

“A summary of the feedback received will be published on the Digital Identity website before legislation is introduced to Parliament.” the spokesperson said. 

“DTA has undertaken extensive consultation on the Trusted Digital identity Bill, including with the state and territories. The Commonwealth and all jurisdictions are united in providing a seamless end to end experience for people across all levels of government.” 

During consultation last year states and territories raised concerns about how the legislation would harmonise with each jurisdiction’s laws. 

Privacy advocates also pushed for the system to include opt-out features and for government services to continue to accept other means of verifying people’s identities. 

According to a statement following the meeting, the ministers also agreed to increase how their jurisdictions worked together on ICT procurement to find cost efficiency and better services delivery.

The federal government launched a Digital Government Strategy and a Data Strategy at the end of last year, outlining visions to transform how it uses and offers online technology in the coming five and 10 years. 


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