Victorians to get digital driver licences from 2024

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Victoria is finally catching up to NSW and South Australia when it comes to digital driver licences.

Fully licensed drivers will be able to apply for a paperless permit from 2024, the Andrews government confirmed on Monday.

A mock-up of Victoria’s incoming digital driver licence.

The move means those who opt into the new system will be able to identify themselves to authorities and businesses using an app on their mobile phone.

South Australia first rolled out digital driver licences in 2017. NSW gave them the green light two years later.

Government Services Minister Danny Pearson blamed Victoria’s delay on the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would have loved to have made this announcement in June 2020,” he said. “But we were focused on the pandemic and focused on making sure that Service Victoria could underpin the vaccinated economy.”

An initial trial will kick off in Ballarat from July. A statewide rollout will then commence sometime next year.

Motorists, retailers, licensed venues and Victoria Police will all be invited to provide feedback on the new proof-of-identity document, which will be housed in the Service Victoria app or an app yet-to-be-launched by VicRoads, but not Apple Wallet.

The government says police and businesses will be able to scan a “highly secure, timed QR code” to prevent fraudulent use. Digital licences will also be automatically updated when a licence has been revoked or suspended, unlike physical cards, which need to be reissued.

But Pearson said plastic driver licences weren’t going anywhere.

“It’s about giving consumers choice,” he said. “I love my parents deeply. They are great people. But they’re not great, so much, on tech. The idea of saying to my father, ‘You’ve now got to have your licence on your phone,’ I think he would really struggle with that.”

Probationary and learner drivers will eventually be able to access the new form of ID, but the minister wouldn’t say when that would occur, other than sometime after the statewide rollout for fully licensed drivers.

Pearson also remained tight-lipped on whether some drivers would get a discount on future licence renewals, given VicRoads may no longer have to print and deliver plastic cards to those licence holders.

“I think that’s probably a matter for the treasurer,” he said. “Our focus at this stage is about making sure we get the tech right.”

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