The Queensland Government has signed a contract with Australian card manufacturing company Placard to provide millions of smartcard-based drivers' licences to the state.
With plans to roll out in 2010, the smartcards are designed as a more secure replacement for laminated plastic licences that have been used in Queensland for twenty years.
The agreement between Placard and the Queensland Government follows the passing of legislation by the Queensland Parliament, making it possible for the use of digital photos and the ability to incorporate a smart chip in the new licence designs.
Queensland has approximately 2.7 million dated laminated drivers' licence cards. The replacement cards will feature in-built computer chips that could be read in the field by police.
The new system also means that addresses would no longer be printed on the cards, instead being stored electronically on the embedded chip. However consumers and businesses would be able to buy a card reader for approximately $20.
Based in Melbourne, Placard was established in 1987. Ganesh Ganeshalingam, Placard's Managing Director said in a statement that the Queensland rollout of smartcards will be "the first of its kind in Australia". The overall project is being led by Queensland Transport chief information officer Cathi Taylor.