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Digital Passenger Declaration Dropped

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

Home Affairs much maligned Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) has been shelved, with Minister Clare O’Neill confirming on Sunday 3 July that “it needs a lot more work to make it user friendly.”

The app, developed by Accenture, has been criticised for its lack of digital integration with other systems and the burden it places on passengers since it was introduced for inbound travellers on 18 February.

The app is the first ‘use case’ of a Whole of Government Permission Capability, intended to eventually provide a single platform for all ‘“visas, import permits, personnel identity cards, licenses, registrations, and other documents.”

The announcement coincides with changes to the Biosecurity Act, which will remove the requirement for people to declare their vaccination status as a condition of travel, and come into effect from 12.01am on Wednesday 6 July 2022.

Intermedium has written extensively about its development, noting early travellers concerns back in April.

Minister O’Neill acknowledged the public criticism: “We’ve also listened to feedback about the DPD. While in time it will replace the paper based incoming passenger card, it needs a lot more work to make it user friendly.”

On Sunday afternoon, soon after the minister’s announcement, the app scored just 1.3 out of 5, from 1,212 reviews at the Apple App store.

The 2019 Thodey review recommended the government develop “common” ICT platforms for shared use and in October 2020, Home Affairs issued a RFI for a ‘Permissions Capability’ Platform’.

In September 2021 Accenture was named as the winning bidder but it was not until 15 October 2021, that AusTender indicated four contracts (rather than one), totalling $58 million had been awarded to Accenture to build the platform, but the contract descriptions offer little information about the scope of each.

The cost of the DPD development remains unknown, with the December 2021 MYEFO declaring the amounts were “not for publication” (see page 257). Nor is not mentioned in Home Affairs most recent Portfolio Budget Statement, accompanying the March 2022 Budget.

The Department of Home Affairs is currently going through Machinery of Government changes, which were announced on 1 June and are scheduled to last several months (until at least the end of September).

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