Australian company directors will now be required to register a digital ID with the federal government through the myGovID app.
The new government measure, called Director ID, is a unique 15-digit identifier that company directors will be required to set up as part of efforts by the federal government to minimise fraud and illegal activity.
The initiative sits within the federal government's digital business plan that was announced last year, which is aimed at streamlining how businesses interact with government.
"Director ID will help to create a fairer business environment by improving data integrity, creating greater confidence in directors' identities, and allowing earlier identification of director involvement in unlawful practices, such as illegal phoenix activity," Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy Jane Hume said.
"Director ID will help to prevent false and fraudulent director identities, which ensures business owners doing the right thing get a fair go."
To apply for the Director ID online, directors will have to use the myGovID app to log onto the Australian Business Registry Services website. Directors will then have to provide various details such as their individual Australian tax file number, residential address, and documents for identity verification as part of the application.
Alternatively, directors can apply for the Director ID via phone or with a paper form.
Once a director has an ID, they will keep the same director ID as they move between different roles, businesses, and countries.
From now until April 2022, new directors will have 28 days to apply for a director ID from the date of their appointment. After April 2022, all new directors must create the ID before being appointed into the role.
Existing directors will have until the end of November to create their Director ID.
This new myGovID enhancement comes off the back of the federal government introducing access to COVID-19 vaccination certificates into myGov earlier this year, which are mandatory for going into certain stores and travelling overseas across many of Australia's states and territories.
According to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), in the past year, myGov uptake increased to 20 million, up from 18.7 million in 2019-20.
myGovID app's download count also almost doubled to over 3.5 million downloads, while the number of digital identities created by Australians grew from almost 1.3 million to 2.8 million, the DTA said.
Updated at 10:27am, 1 November 2021: fixed error and clarified that only myGovID can access the application form for Director IDs.