Office of Access Card officials have issued the second request for tender in the program, seeking a prime contractor to produce the card and its management system.
Vendors are expected to read with interest the access card issuance and management request for tender, which calls for a tenderer to design, manufacture, initialise, personalise and distribute the access card.
All cards issued have to include anti-counterfeiting and anti-tampering technology, as well as multi-level security, according to the Office.
Tenderers must ensure their smartcard chips, blank card stock, and card personalisation and issuance services are provided by at least two suppliers to guard against possible disruptions to supply of the cards.
The two suppliers cannot share premises and neither is allowed to produce more than 60 percent of the annual card requirement.
The government expects over 16 million Australians to register for an access card between 2008 and 2010.
A second component of the request for tender called for a tenderer to implement a cards and key management system.
The card management system will track cards throughout their lifecycle. It will create new cards and allow data in the card's chip to be updated.
Encryption keys will be stored in the key management system, to allow data on the access card chip to only be read or updated by authenticated devices.
The successful tenderer's solution must complete Defence Signals Directorate certification before it can be used.
The government also reiterated its commitment that no personal data in the access card program would be held offshore. All encoding and personalisation of blank cards would be done in Australia, according to the Office.
The Office expects to sign a three year contract, which includes support services, with the successful tenderer in mid-June.