Australian Budget 2019: GovPass gains another AU$67m

The funding for the government’s digital identity program will be split between the DTA, DHS, ATO, and Finance.

The Australian government will continue developing its digital identity program GovPass with AU$67.1 million funding in 2019-20 under the Federal Budget.

The funding will be split between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), and the Department of Finance.

"GovPass enables the creation of a digital identity for Australian citizens, which will allow them to access government services online," the Budget documents said.

"This funding will support the continued development of the underlying infrastructure of the system and roll out pilot programs that commenced in 2018-19, and will support further analysis of the requirements for the full rollout of GovPass."

"The GovPass Program is a key component in the further digital transformation of government and supports the Government's commitment to better and more accessible digital services."

Last year's Budget had similarly seen GovPass gain AU$92.4 million in funding, with AU$60.9 million earmarked for an "accelerated implementation" by the DTA.

In August last year, the federal government decided to move GovPass hosting internally, ending its contract with cloud services provider Vault Systems as a result.

DHS and the ATO will be responsible for operating the digital identity system's components as well as for hosting the components that Vault previously had.

During Senate Estimates in November, DTA CDO Peter Alexander revealed that the ATO, DHS, and Australia Post would be charged with the responsibility of GovPass in the first instance.

"They hold a lot of identity data already," Alexander said. "It could easily be extended to jurisdictional providers and commercial providers, who are talking to banks, the Australian payment network, and others who can provide identity."

The government two weeks ago also gave a pre-Budget AU$67 million boost to myGovID to enable its accelerated development, specifically for the remaining seven of eight pilots that are yet to be conducted.

According to Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan, a myGovID is the digital equivalent of a 100-point identification check, and is expected to reduce the need to visit an office or shopfront in person when doing business with the government.

"The system also removes the need for people to remember dozens of separate government logins and passwords by creating a single, convenient solution," Keenan added.

"Digital identity will help businesses and individuals access government services easily and securely, just like accessing your online bank account."

The first trial kicked off in October, with a small group of Australians able to use their myGovID to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN).

How much of the Budget becomes enacted remains to be seen, as the government is expected to call a May election this weekend.

Australian Budget 2019 Coverage