The journey to New South Wales’s digital driver’s licence and photo card

From creating the app that houses the digital licences to dealing with unexpected popularity, Service NSW details how it built and launched the New South Wales digital driver’s licence and photo card.

nsw digital driver licence
Service NSW

Several Australian states have been working to create digital driver’s licences and photo cards. New South Wales launched its digital licence in late 2019, after several years of effort and a 2017 trial; the digital photo card (ID card) is still in trials and will be based on the digital licence system. There are now 2.4 million digital driver’s licence holders in New South Wales. South Australia launched its digital driver’s licence in 2017, and Queensland trialled a digital driver’s licence in 2020 but has not yet launched it as a standard option.

Mel Faeghy, New South Wales’s director of digital channels for digital licences at the Service NSW agency, detailed the state’s digital licence and photo card efforts to Computerworld Australia. The digital licence and photo card efforts are part of a broader innovation plan by the New South Wales government.

The system was mostly built in-house by digital team at the Service NSW, a statutory agency within the Department of Customer Service. There were a few exceptions such as the security element, for which the digital team chose to use a third party.

Building a new app to house the digital licences

The first step was for Service NSW to create a team to develop a new app to replace its existing one; the new app would need to house the upcoming digital driver’s licence.

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