Digital border pass to get vaccinated Aussies flying again

The federal government is developing a new digital border pass for international travel, which will share personal information, including vaccination status, onto states and territories for Covid contact tracing.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) will be introduced within months and will apply to all travellers entering and leaving Australia.

It’s understood that the DPD will provide digital authority for fully vaccinated Australians to travel, replacing the physical Incoming Passenger Card and the digital COVID-19 Australian Travel Declaration form.

One new Australian passport with an international boarding pass inserted inside the document.
It’s been revealed the federal government is pressing ahead with developing a new digital border pass to allow fully vaccinated Australians to leave the country. Source: Getty Images

The beginning of a new digital system

IT firm Accenture has been awarded the $75 million tender to develop the technology, which passengers will complete on their mobile device or computer.

The new digital system will also be designed to share information to public health authorities for them to potentially use it for contact tracing amid the ongoing pandemic.

It’s hoped the technology could eventually be expanded to include visas, import and export permits and licences as well as other government services such as environmental and building permits.

The DPD, which is being developed by the Department of Home Affairs, will also work in conjunction with mobile applications that returned travellers will be required to download to quarantine at home as hotel quarantine is phased out.

Female traveller standing in front of Flight display schedule in the International airport. Source: Getty Images
The Digital Passenger Declaration will be introduced within months. Source: Getty Images

Covid-safe travel taking off within months

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told the SMH the DPD would support the “safe reopening of the border at scale when supported by health advice” by providing digitally verified Covid vaccination details.

“This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians and welcome the tourists, travellers, international students, skilled workers and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic,” she said.

A ban on Australians leaving the country will be scrapped as soon as November under the plans.

The DPD will move into a testing phase before being deployed throughout major Australian airports.

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