Qld smart-card licence project advances

Queensland Transport (QT) has gone to market for up to 10,000 handheld smart card readers as it gears up to replace its 2.7 million antiquated drivers' licences with new smart card equivalents.

Queensland Transport (QT) has gone to market for up to 10,000 handheld smart card readers as it gears up to replace its 2.7 million antiquated drivers' licences with new smart card equivalents.

The department released a request for offer for the devices late last week. The department wants staff access to the devices controlled via a PIN code, which would give access to information stored on the chipped drivers' licences.

Queensland hopes to combat fraud, fake licences, and other risks associated with the supply chain of licence manufacturing with the new chipped cards and readers. The new devices will see the old laminated licences, introduced in the 1980's, replaced.

The state is also hoping to reduce the cost of processing drivers' licences and registration transactions each year, and make the card a more general authentication device for citizens to access government services over the Web.

Queensland Transport also expects many businesses and individuals to obtain their own smart card readers, which the department has said could cost about AU$20. Citizens will have their own PIN number to change some data on the cards, such as address.

QT has been toying with a roll-out of chipped licences since 2003, having established its SimLab laboratory to test technologies suitable for a state-wide card scheme.

The contract for the new smart card readers is expected to be three years with two years extension.

The request for offer closes on 1 September 2008 with negotiations set to start in December with a contract drawn up for a February 2009 start date.

The overall licence project comes under the remit of QT's chief information officer Cathi Taylor, who was previously the state's freedom of information commissioner and replaced former CIO Paul Summergreene late in 2007.

Summergreene, who had previously overseen the licence project, had joined Queensland Health as its CIO, a position he was fired from last month.

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