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Australia makes headway in digital ID interoperability

Australia makes headway in digital ID interoperability

Australia is making progress in bringing together the country’s digital identity schemes and making them interoperable, including the federal myGov platform and the Service NSW app, created by the New South Wales government.

The government has made several small announcements that prove its commitment to this direction, according to an opinion piece published by The Mandarin.

Signs that point to this direction are the latest Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting (DDMM) communique which mentioned a “framework for all governments.” Australian Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten also revealed that credentials such as New South Wales licenses will be admissible to the state’s equivalent of a digital wallet.

In June, New South Wales took an important step towards its national digital identity wallet scheme by launching its first digital credential, a digital first-aid certificate. Service NSW also added a  digitized Working with Children Check (WWCC) late last year.

New South Wales government digital ID received AU$21.4 million in new funding for digital ID in its latest budget.

Meanwhile, interstate digital driver licenses (DDLs) became a recognized age document in the state thanks to the 24-Hour Economy Legislation Amendment (Vibrancy Reforms) Act 2023. Several other states in Australia have also created mobile driver licenses.

Banks raise concern about govt spending

An Australian government scheme designed to allow bank customers to switch accounts, known as the consumer data right, has only drawn 174,000 active users, or 0.3 percent of bank customers, at the end of last year according to a new analysis published by the Australian Banking Association.

The report concludes that the AU$ 1.5 billion (US$1 billion) program is at risk of turning into a white elephant and warns that other government projects – including the upcoming digital ID system – may be heading towards a similar failure, the Australian Financial Review reports.

Another example in favor of this argument is the health records data-sharing scheme My Health Record. Despite the government investing AU$2 million (US$1.3 million) in the program, less than 2 percent of documents in the My Health Record system are being looked at by doctors.

Fintech companies, however, are pushing back against the claim and say that it’s too premature to declare the consumer data right a failure. The companies have urged the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to release the actual numbers.

Banks have also shown little enthusiasm towards Australia’s upcoming digital ID system, the Australian Financial Review writes. Instead, banks and big retailers have launched their own identity app, Connect ID.

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