Technology

Federal government takes next step in prepping for international travel restart

The federal government is continuing its preparations for reopening Australia to international travel at scale, with the appointment of Accenture to deliver the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD).

​​First announced in October last year, the DPD will replace the physical incoming passenger card and the COVID-19 Australian Travel Declaration web form, capturing essential information including passengers’ vaccination status up to 72 hours prior to boarding.

The DPD will provide the capacity to collect, verify and share any federal government-approved and digitally-verified travel, health and vaccine status information of international travellers with state and territory public health authorities.

Passengers coming into Australia will be able to complete the DPD on their mobile device or computer.

Accenture was awarded the work through a competitive tender process run independently by the Department of Home Affairs. The company will work closely with the government department to deliver the initial operating capability of the DPD later in the year.

The DPD will now move into a testing phase before being deployed, at scale, throughout major Australian airports.​​​

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the DPD will support the safe reopening of Australia’s international borders by providing digitally-verified COVID-19 vaccination details.

​​“This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians, and welcome the tourists, travellers, international students, skilled workers, and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic,” she said.

​Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert, who is also federally responsible for data and digital policy, said that once the DPD is implemented, the government will consider how the same technolog​y that it is based on can be reused to deliver a suite of digital upgrades to other government services.

​“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,” he said.

South Australia expands home quarantine trial to international arrivals

In other news, South Australia has expanded its home quarantine trial to Australians returning from overseas.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the expanded trial was part of the state government’s COVID recovery plan, and follows a successful start utilising the Home Quarantine SA app in South Australia.

“The innovative Home Quarantine SA app has received great feedback from users, with about 50 people involved in the domestic trial so far,” he said.

“Eighteen of those people have successfully completed the trial so far, with the remainder expected to complete their quarantine in coming days.

“What we learn from the domestic and international Home Quarantine SA trials could help the entire nation to safely repatriate more Australians coming home from overseas.

“Our medi-hotel program has been highly successful in keeping South Australia safe, but allowing people to quarantine at home will not only reduce the burden on our medi-hotel system, but it will improve conditions for returning Australians.”

The international traveller trial will involve about 90 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who are returning from lower-risk countries.

All participants have been pre-selected and must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and have a suitable home available that is self-contained and does not have shared corridors, lifts or other facilities.

They will travel in their own vehicles from the RAAF base to their accommodation with a SAPOL escort, where they will stay for the full 14 days of their quarantine period.

The trial participants will need to provide a negative test result 72 hours before the flight departs for Australia, then on arrival in the country and again on day three, five, seven, nine and 13.

Following assessment of the initial trial, SA Health said it will review the opportunity to extend the pilot to other cohorts.


Featured image source: iStock/Chalabala


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