New Funding for Passports and Consular Awareness
11 May 2010
The Government will continue to improve services for the increasing number of Australians travelling overseas through new funding in the 2010-11 Budget for passports and consular awareness.
$100.8 million has been provided over six years to deliver a new passport issuing system that will enhance the security and efficiency of Australia's expanding passport operations.
The new system will provide a more secure and efficient passport system through four key elements:
- eScan - which will enable large-scale scanning of passport application forms and supporting documents;
- eFlow - which will manage the flow of data through the stages of the passports approval processes, ensuring quality decision-making;
- eCase - which will provide significantly enhanced fraud investigation, analytical and intelligence capabilities and case management functions; and
- ePrint - which will allow for quality assured, bulk centralised printing of personal information into passports (including biometric chip encoding).
This investment in a new passport system reflects the Government's commitment to ensure that Australians are provided with secure travel documentation that is trusted internationally.
This new and improved system will take advantage of the latest technologies and will improve the integrity of Australia's travel documents.
The changes will help officials to combat identity theft and ensure international border control authorities continue to regard Australian passports highly.
The Australian passport is the most widely held identity document in Australia and it is an essential element of the Government's National Identity Security Strategy.
In 2009-10, DFAT is expected to issue more than 1.7 million passports. Demand is forecast to exceed 2 million by 2012 and to rise by between 70 and 100 per cent within ten years.
Investment in the new passport system will save the Budget $10.2 million by 2015-16.
The Government will also provide funding of $13.6 million over four years to continue the Smartraveller consular information campaign.
Smartraveller is a key element of the Government's efforts to provide accurate advice to the six million Australians who travel overseas each year.
This funding will allow DFAT to build on the highly successful program that was first launched in 2003.
Smartraveller currently provides:
- travel advisories for over 160 destinations around the world;
- a subscription service that alerts travellers to any change to the travel advice for their destination;
- a registration service to help DFAT locate Australians travelling overseas during an emergency; and
- a range of information and advice to help Australians travel safely overseas.
- Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7500
- Departmental Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555