Centrelink ID card takes shape

The first smartcards for Australian government staff will be issued in August 2007.

Centrelink staff will be the first Australian government employees to be issued with a smartcard following a request for tender, which it published yesterday.

The social services agency will combine three cards employees currently use to access Centrelink properties, into a single integrated chip, or smartcard, which will be issued in August 2007. Centrelink has 26,000 staff.

The Centrelink Staff Identification Card would standardise employee access and comply with government best practice, Centrelink said in tender documents.

The card will be the first developed in accordance with the government's fledgling Identity Management for Australian Government Employees Framework (IMAGE). Smartcards are one component of IMAGE, to be implemented across government by 2008.

For security, the card will contain a tamper-resistant, optically variable device in the form of the Australian coat of arms.

Currently, Centrelink staff carry: a photographic identity card, a Vasco token for building access, and a Vasco password-generating token for each computer logon.

"These three physical devices are carried in a single clear plastic envelope in such a fashion that the package allows all three devices to operate, but physically masks the surname of the employee from view," said the tender documents.

The new card will combine logical, physical and identity data. There will be no major changes to how staff use the card.

Centrelink said it would select its tenderer in March before the first production cards are issued in August.

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