Accenture has won a major agreement with the government to build the platform that will digitize the cards of inbound passengers and collect information on the vaccination status of international travelers.
Internal Affairs Minister Karen Andrews revealed the contract with the consulting giant on Monday after a 10-month search for “permitting capacity” that could eventually be extended to the entire government.
The Australian Financial Review had previously reported the existence of the $ 60 million deal, although at the time the Department of the Interior declined to comment on what it described as “speculation.”
Home Affairs approached the permit-based services platform market in October 2020 with the intention of handling both digital passenger declarations (DPDs) and simple visa processing.
It followed the government’s failed multi-billion dollar plan to outsource Australia’s visa processing platform, which cost nearly $ 100 million before it was unceremoniously scrapped.
But it appears that the government has delayed its plans to use the permitting capacity for simple visa processing by the end of 2021, and Accenture will focus its initial efforts on the DPD.
The DPD will replace paper incoming passenger cards at Australia’s borders, as well as the Covid-19 Australian travel declaration web form that has been in place since last year.
Internal Affairs previously tried to replace the inbound passenger card in 2017 as part of its ‘seamless traveler’ initiative.
The DPD will capture information for use by border officials, which now includes vaccination status, and travelers will be able to complete a DPD on their mobile device up to 72 hours before boarding.
Andrews said the DPD would “support the secure reopening of Australia’s international borders by providing digitally verified Covid-19 vaccination details,” but did not refer to it as a vaccine passport.
“This will help us welcome increasing numbers of Australians home and welcome tourists, travelers, international students, skilled workers and friends and family abroad,” he said.
The DPD is also expected to provide a mechanism to share “digitally verified travel, health and vaccine status information from international travelers with state and territorial public health authorities.”
Employment Minister Stuart Robert, who oversees digital and data policy, confirmed that the government would consider extending the platform to other services after the DPD.
He said this could include visas, import permits, personnel identity cards, licenses, registrations and other documents, making previously cumbersome processes easier, safer and more transparent. “
Accenture is expected to begin testing the DPD shortly and deliver initial operational capacity before the end of the year.
Restrictions preventing Australians from traveling abroad are expected to be lifted in November.