The Australian authorities have announced that they are working on creating a digital vaccination passport that would allow citizens of Australia to travel internationally.
According to a press release issued by the Liberal Party of Australia on September 13, the Government has chosen Accenture to deliver the digital vaccination passport, known as the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD).
As a result, the DPD will be a replacement for the COVID-19 Australian Travel Declaration online form and for the physical incoming passenger card, VisaGuide.World reports.
Regarding its efficacy, the DPD will capture the essential information, such as passengers’ vaccination status up to 72 hours before boarding. Passengers going to Australia will be able to complete the DPD on their computers or mobile devices.
After the announcement, the Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said that the Government is making sure to take proactive steps in order to open the borders at scale safely and plans to make travel easier by verifying COVID-19 vaccination information digitally.
“The DPD will support the safe re-opening of Australia’s international borders, by providing digitally-verified COVID-19 vaccination details,” Andrews said.
In addition, the Minister noted that the DPD would help the country to welcome home Australians as well as international students, tourists, skilled workers, and travellers. Moreover, overseas family and friends who have not been able to visit the country due to the COVID-19 situation will soon be able to enter Australia by using this form of verification.
Following the implementation of the DPD, the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business and the Minister who is responsible for data and digital policy, Stuart Robert, said that the Australian Government would examine how the technology used for the DPD can be used to provide other digital upgrades to other services of the Government.
“The overarching digitisation program could include visas, import permits, personnel identity cards, licenses, registrations, and other documents, making previously cumbersome processes easier, safer and more transparent,” Robert added.
At the moment, Australians can prove their vaccination status through a digital or paper certificate that has been obtained through MyGov account or the Express Plus Medicare app. However, since several problems have been detected in using this form, DPD will benefit travellers more.
As a result, DPD will now move on to its testing phase before it is deployed at scale in Australian airports and will also help to capacity collect, verify, and share Australian Government-approved and digitally-verified travel, vaccine and health status information of international travellers.
Additionally, the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, said as soon as the country hits the 70 per cent or 80 per cent rate of vaccination among Australians, they will be able to travel overseas again. However, he also emphasised that businesses can also impose rules.
This means that even though the vaccine certificate is not mandatory, individual businesses can decide whether they want their customers to prove that they have been vaccinated before allowing access.
Apart from that, the Prime Minister highlighted that even if the other countries do not hit the required vaccination rate, Australians can still travel overseas. In contrast, unvaccinated travellers will be required to stay self-isolated when they return to Australia.