NSW govt explains digital drivers' licence delay, says they're coming "very soon"

(Image credit: Service NSW)

The much-talked-about New South Wales digital drivers' licence has been in the trial stages since 2017 and, it seems, that trial is being extended, with no definite end date in sight. However, according to the Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, the official statewide rollout will begin "very soon".

The government has already missed its initial August deadline: the reason for the delay, says Mr Dominello, is due to stability issues. 

When questioned about the delay during a budget session at Parliament, Mr Dominello said that he was "not confident" that the systems were "ready to go" by August. "We want to make sure that we get it right," he explained.

When asked to list particular concerns, Mr Dominello's reasoning was "just stability in relation to the system".

Adding more information to the questions put forth during the budget session, Service NSW chief Damon Rees said that the security of people's personal information was a key consideration. 

"The focus for the digital driver licence program has been making sure we protect people's personal information, making sure we protect people's privacy, making sure the system is stable and available when people need it and that inherent risk that we see with plastic licences, which is that people attempt to reproduce them," he added.

Your tax dollars working very hard.

Your tax dollars working very hard. (Image credit: NSW State Government / TechRadar)

At present, the Service NSW website claims the statewide rollout of the digital drivers' licences will begin in "late 2019". When asked to confirm whether that was true, Mr Dominello reiterated that it would all happen "very soon", even though he also claimed he had "a very clear indication of when that will be".

And when pressed to be more precise, Mr Dominello responded, "We will roll it out when we are ready and it is ready to go. That will be very soon."

With no specific timeline available, the trial that began in Dubbo in October 2017 will continue. It has since been extended to the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, followed by a trial in Albury as well "to get the cross-border experience".

The response to the trial has been impressive, with 14,000 people already participating, however, extending the trial comes with added costs that tax dollars are taking care of.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.