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Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency to invest in digital identity and blockchain

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency to invest in digital identity and blockchain

The
recently announced Australian Budget 2018–19
will invest in technology to boost the country’s competitiveness and improve the
government’s delivery of public services to citizens. Such effort also includes
improving people’s experience of government services online.

The
Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) will invest A$92.4
million in the next phase of work to build Govpass, Australia’s digital identity
system
. According to the DTA, Govpass will provide a simple, safe and
secure choice for people to verify who they are and access government services
online, reducing the need to visit a shopfront.

Over
the next financial year, up to 8 high-volume government services will be
piloted using a digital identity, giving more than 500,000 people the
opportunity to test the system. The first government services to be trialled
with the digital identity system are applying for a tax file number and
registering a business from October 2018.

The roll out of the digital identity system is a collective effort
on multiple agencies, including: (1) the DTA to oversee the system and develop
a set of rules called the Trusted
Digital Identity Framework
to accredit identity providers, (2) the Australian Taxation Office will be the identity
provider to verify people are who they say they are, (3) the Department of Human Services will
operate the technology gateway between accredited identity providers and the
services people use.

At the same time, the Australian Government is also
exploring innovative ways to deliver reliable and secure government services
using modern technology such as blockchain.

A$700,000 is being invested to investigate the benefits of
using blockchain for government services. This work will be done in 2 stages:

  1. Conduct research to understand the current maturity of blockchain, the readiness or government to adopt the technology and identify problems that blockchain might be able to solve.
  2. Develop  a possible solution for one of the problems identified in the research, and understand the potential of using blockchain to support government services.

Technology is a major focus and enabler in the Australian Government’s
roadmap for the delivery of digital government services and more opportunities
for Australians.

As reported earlier, the Australian Budget set aside A$41
million
to set up the first national space agency and over
A$36 billion
to support defence technology and industry. It also pledged to
support the growth of a smart
economy
and committed new funding for research in medical sector including
the Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan and the Medical Research
Future Fund.

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