​Licences go digital in New South Wales

Residents in New South Wales can now access their recreational fishing licence and their responsible service of alcohol and conduct of gambling cards via the Service NSW app.

The New South Wales government has now made the first wave of its digital licences available through the new "My Licences" digital wallet in the latest version of the Service NSW app.

Residents in the state can download their recreational fishing fee, responsible service of alcohol, and responsible conduct of gambling competency cards on their smartphone or tablet as the first batch of licences available digitally.

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Service NSW RSA RCG Competency Digital Licence

Image: Supplied

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said the launch marked a leap in government technology, and has paved the way for digital driver licences to come into effect by 2019.

"NSW is leading the nation in government technology, and the number one reason is that we are determined to offer the best services to make life easier for the people of NSW," Perrottet said.

"If you carry a smartphone in your pocket and you're looking forward to a wallet-free future, digital licences make so much sense -- they're easily accessible, safe, and secure, and it's one less thing to stuff in your wallet."

Within the updated Service NSW app, citizens can renew their licence and update their details without needing to visit a Service NSW centre.

Perrottet initially announced that the state would begin the distribution of digital licences last November, and highlighted that each year in NSW, more than 23 million licences covering more than 750 different licence types are issued -- including 2.8 million plastic cards.

Digital licences are currently optional, with physical licence cards to remain available for all licence holders.

The minister did note this week however, that those wishing to carry only a digital copy of their licences must ensure their device remains charged and accessible, but confirmed digital licences can be accessed on another smartphone or tablet by signing into the Service NSW app.

In a statement, Perrottet said security was paramount in developing the digital licence platform, which uses security features similar to phone banking. Licence data is stored in the user's MyServiceNSW account and housed in the NSW government's datacentre, GovDC.

The first phase of MyServiceNSW, a central customer account for Service NSW, was launched in February. Users are able to store information in their digital profile, which is expected to be transparent across the different government services covered by Service NSW.

"Our citizens should only have to 'tell us once', and that's what we are aiming for with MyServiceNSW," Perrottet said at the time. "Citizens today want simple, convenient ways to interact with government, including high quality digital services, and that is what we are delivering with MyServiceNSW."

In addition to kicking off the first phase of MyServiceNSW, the government also updated its Service NSW app to enable users to view, pay, and contest infringement notices.

The user now receives a mobile alert shortly after incurring a road or traffic fine, which sees them able to view photographs of the incident, pay the fine, and nominate the correct driver from within the app.

The app update was the result of collaboration with the Office of State Revenue and builds on existing features including the ability to view licence and vehicle registration details, check demerit points, and update licence address and contact details with the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS).

"The people of NSW want 21st century services from a 21st century government, and that means technologically enabled, convenient to access, and easy to use services -- which is exactly what we are delivering," Perrottet said at the time. "The Service NSW app is putting easy access to government services in your pocket."

Launched in July 2014, Service NSW brought together a number of different NSW government services under the one office, including RMS; Births, Deaths and Marriages; and small business support.

In the 2015-16 budget, Service NSW was slated to receive AU$362 million to increase the number of digital interactions between consumers and government, and to roll out a further 27 one-stop shops across New South Wales.

As of February 2016, the Service NSW website showed that there were 95 shopfronts across the state.

The budget also allocated a large chunk of funding for the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, including AU$64 million over four years towards a cloud solution to consolidate datacentres, and AU$10 million over two years to integrate the OneGov System Platform with Service NSW.

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