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.
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.