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Passengers Unimpressed with Digital Passenger Declaration

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

The new Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) system, launched in mid-February 2022, just as Australia’s last international border restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers were lifted, is receiving major criticism from travellers.  

Inbound passengers attempting to provide vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results prior to their arrival in Australia are encountering a range of problems, from struggling to navigate login and password protocols, to challenges providing documents in specific file formats. 

The DPD system can be accessed via desktop site or mobile apps, and collects a range of information including not only what was on the old passenger declaration card but also vaccination record, COVID test results, travel history and a declaration that the traveller is aware of possible (state/territory) quarantine and testing requirements. 

The problems appear to be most prevalent among people who download the app from the Google Play store with some of the feedback being particularly scathing. 

Specific complaints about the DPD system include: 

  • That it won’t accept PDF files (but users can take screen shots of documents) 

  • That it requires WiFi to access, which is not available in some airports, making it difficult to show evidence of documentation to airline staff (Border Force recommend using a screen shot of the summary page) 

  • That the “I agree” button of the consent step does not work (users need to scroll through the full text of the consent disclosure before the accept functionality is activated) 

  • The drop-down menu to select options (from a list of countries) does not function as expected 

In early April 2022m the Google Play Store had 171 reviews of the app, averaging 1.1 stars (out of 5) while the Apple Store only made 7 reviews available and they had an average 2.9 (out of 5).  

Anyone unable or unwilling to use the DPD can still line up to provide necessary declarations and documentation to Border Force on arrival and there are penalties for providing false information in the DPD (just as there is for lying on the old paper declaration cards). 

The DPD is the first part of the Morrison Government’s WofG Permissions Platform, which Intermedium has covered extensively

In October 2020, with borders still closed to international travel, the Morrison Government released a Permissions capability industry information paper, which declared that “The first use cases will be from the Home Affairs portfolio and comprise: a Digital Passenger Declaration; and a simple digital visa.” 

Almost a year later, in September 2021, Accenture was announced as the successful bidder to deliver the DPD. 

The cost of the project is unknown, with the December 2021 MYEFO declaring the amounts were “not for publication” (see page 257); however, as Intermedium noted in November, Accenture’s work on the project is split over (at least) four contracts, totalling $58 million. 

  • IT Services
  • Border Security
  • Health