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As Australia’s national digital ID marches on, myGov and NSW digital ID face delays

As Australia’s national digital ID marches on, myGov and NSW digital ID face delays

As Australia moves closer to creating a national digital identity, the question of what will happen to the country’s previous digital ID projects still remains open. Among them are the government’s single sign-on service myGov and the regional New South Wales NSW Digital ID pilot program.

After reporting in early October that the NSW Digital ID project is at a standstill with no new trials in sight, trade publication InnovationAus has revealed that a planned service integration between the NSW app and the myGov app has been paused earlier this year and has not resumed.

The integration would make digital Medicare cards visible in the Service NSW app, while NSW digital driver licenses were to become accessible in the myGov app. The integration agreement – a first for any state-based credential – was reached in February while the deadline was originally set for September.

Officials from Services Australia have confirmed to InnovationAus that work on the integration was paused just months after the agreement was reached. Government officials have explained the change to the project timeline on the change in government in New South Wales.

“As you know, there was a change of government in NSW and Service NSW have had a look at the path they want to take moving forward,” Services Australia’s chief information and digital officer Charles McHardie was quoted saying.

In November 2022,  New South Wales kicked off several pilots. In two of the three pilots conducted to date, however, less than 70 people have tested the NSW system.

At the beginning of October this year, the New South Wales government reassured the public that it plans to continue with the NSW Digital ID project. Despite the commitment, it has lowered the value of the contract for issuing verifiable credentials for the platform.

The myGov project, on the other hand, landed in hot water this year after fraudsters allegedly created fake accounts leading to at least AU$557 million (US$373 million) in losses over the past two years.

The platform faced the possibility of its funding being cut following a change in government at the beginning of the year. In March, however, myGov received $134.5 million Australian dollars (US$91.5 million) to keep it functioning for the next 12 months.

Australia’s multiple digital ID schemes are set to be integrated into an interoperable ecosystem with the country’s new federally-backed digital ID. The national system is expected to be in place by mid-2024. In September, the government presented draft legislation and opened consultations on the digital ID.

Meanwhile, as the legislation continues to be debated, financial organizations such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and the National Bank of Australia (NAB) have been looking towards private identity services such as ConnectID.

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