Government announces plan for digital passenger declaration

The prospect of international borders reopening is a step closer, with the federal government announcing that technology group Accenture would be responsible for delivering a new digital border pass.

The Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) will replace the physical incoming passenger card and the COVID-19 Australian Travel Declaration web form, and will capture the vaccination status of passengers up to 72 hours prior to boarding as well as other essential information.

According to home affairs minister Karen Andrews, who announced the plan in a joint statement with Stuart Robert, passengers coming into Australia will be able to complete the DPD on their mobile device or computer.

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Ms Andrews said the DPD was all part of the government taking proactive steps to ensure the safe reopening of the border at scale when it was supported by the health advice.

“The DPD will support the safe reopening of Australia’s international borders, by providing digitally verified COVID-19 vaccination details,” Ms Andrews said.

​​”This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians, and welcome the tourists, travellers, international students, skilled workers, and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic.”

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Mr Robert, the minister responsible for the government’s data and digital policies, said once the DPD was up and running his department would investigate ways the technology could be reused to deliver a suite of digital upgrades to other government services.

“The overarching digitisation program could include visas, import permits, personnel identity cards, licences, registrations, and other documents, making previously cumbersome processes easier, safer and more transparent,” he said.

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The DPD will also provide the capacity to collect, verify and share any Australian government-approved and digitally verified travel, health and vaccine status information of international travellers with state and territory public health authorities. 

The DPD will now move into a testing phase before being deployed throughout major Australian airports.

According to the national plan, the government has said that international travel will resume once 80 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated, a target that could be met by mid-November.

When do you think Australia’s international borders will reopen? How long will you wait before you travel overseas? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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