Say goodbye to driver’s licences
A physical driver's licence could soon be a thing of the past, with one state set to roll out digital permits in the coming months.
NSW has been conducting a trial of a new digital driver's licence, with about 14,000 participants, and will now implement the technology across the state.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the move in today's NSW Budget, allowing people to use their smartphones as a kind of virtual wallet.
The opt-in system includes driver's licences, proof of identity and proof of age cards, which people will be able to use when accessing licenced venues or interacting with police.
Digital ID cards can be accessed from a secure MyServiceNSW app on a smartphone, protected with a pin.
"Smartphones have become de facto wallets and we're using cutting edge technology so that drivers can use a digital licence in everyday scenarios," Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said.
"The DDL is hosted securely on the new ServiceNSW app, locks with a PIN and can be accessed offline.
"It will provide additional levels of security and protection against identity fraud, compared to the plastic driver's licence."
More than 14,000 motorists are already using the technology, with successful trials under way in Dubbo, Albury and Sydney's eastern suburbs.
The program will now be extended statewide in coming months.
However, it will "always" be an opt-in program with no plans to completely replace physical IDs, the Government has said.
And during the continuing trial, motorists will be required to also carry their physical licence and present it if requested.
To participate in the trials and the subsequent statewide rollout, eligible licence holders need to create a MyServiceNSW Account, download the mobile app on their device and opt-in for the digital driver's licence, Mr Dominello said.
TREASURER TAKES SWIPE AT SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Meanwhile, the NSW Treasurer has taken a swipe at South Australia saying "no one who comes to Australia comes to Adelaide" while delivering today's Budget.
Mr Perrottet used the argument to try to pressure the Federal Government to send billions of dollars Sydney's way.
He wants Canberra to part-fund a $10 billion new fast rail line between Sydney's CBD and Parramatta, which he said is essential if the city is to cope with an upcoming population spurt.
But a "challenging" economic situation has seen billions of dollars wiped off the bottom line of Australia's wealthiest state. And Mr Perrottet has said thousands of public sector jobs will be wiped because of it.
However, there were a few sweeteners in the NSW Budget including reduced transport cost for big time commuters and a doubling of the Active Kids voucher.
Deep in the Budget was a surprise - the announcement of a little talked about a possible new light rail network in the state's north - which would be the fourth in the state.
NSW will spend a record $93 billion on infrastructure, but that comes with a catch. The state is relying on federal funding to get some of these projects over the line. Hence the swipe at Adelaide.
BILLIONS GONE FROM NSW'S BOTTOM LINE
In his Budget speech Mr Perrottet said the state faced a "new set of challenges" including the housing down turn that has wiped a nothing to be sneezed at $10.6 billion wiped off the state's bottom line due to a fall in stamp duty. And $2.3bn has vanished from GST as consumers tighten their wallets.
That's seen the NSW Government final surplus this year to finish up at $802 million, some way down on the $1.4 billion predicted last year.
Mr Perrottet said the state's surpluses would average $1.7 billion a year over the next four years. But the surpluses will still be smaller than expected a year ago.
To at least make up some of the shortfall, he said was many as 3000 "back office" public sector jobs would be axed.
The Treasurer defended the cuts: "Let's be fair dinkum; we have a public sector of 300,000 people so those accounts for one per cent of staff.
"It's about making our Government fit for purpose not reducing any frontline services."
So, what's in it for you?
IF YOU LIKE SHINY NEW ROADS AND RAILWAYS
Mr Perrottet said his was a "state-building budget from a state-building Government". He talked up the opening of the Sydney Metro Northwest and Newcastle Light Rail in the last few months and the construction of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Sydney Light Rail and West Connex motorway opening soon.
The Government has also said it's now committed $6.4 billion to the Sydney Metro West which will take driverless trains from the city to Parramatta via Sydney Olympic Park. That's great, but the line is actually going to cost at least $10 billion with NSW keen on Canberra to make up the shortfall.
The Treasurer has a plan to persuade the Morrison Government to cough up - have a go at South Australia.
"No one who comes to Australia comes to Adelaide. They go to Sydney and Melbourne," he told reporters.
"If we are taking on more population, we should get a higher proportion of infrastructure spending and we have pressed that point with the Government when it comes to the $3bn for the Metro West."
Another $2 billion will go towards yet another Metro line, this one to connect the T1 Western Line to the new Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek - again, it will need more than that to get off the ground.
Squirrelled away in the documents was a new transport project. A new tram line that would extend north from Tweed Heads and cross into Queensland at Coolangatta. The aim would be to link up to the Gold Coast tram which is steadily being extended south.
But with a mere $1 million committed for "planning" don't expect to see any trams crossing borders soon.
There's better news for road projects in regional areas. $1.5 billion will be spent on improving the M1 Pacific Highway in northern NSW and $1.2 billion on the M1 Princes Highway in the south. The final part of the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains will also be duplicated.
IF YOU'RE A MOTORIST
If, despite all the new trains and trams that are being opened, you're still stuck behind the wheel then congratulations - you're speeding less and following the road rules more. The Budget bottom line is fully $88 million less than hoped for due to "lower than expected motor traffic fines".
The toll relief program will be expanded so that drivers spending $15 a week or more will receive 50 per cent off their motor vehicle registration for one vehicle.
IF YOU USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The Opal weekly travel cap will reduce for heavy transport users. From 1 July 2019, approximately 55,000 commuters will benefit with the total maximum spend on Opal reduced to $50 per week for adults and $25 for kids.
$300 million will also be spent on building station car parks.
IF YOU'RE A RETIREE
Sweeteners a plenty are coming your way. Seniors across regional NSW will be eligible for a $250 per year subsidy towards fuel, taxi travel or NSW TrainLink tickets. There will also be a new energy rebate for independent retirees.
IF YOU'VE GOT KIDS
Youngsters will be encouraged to turn off the console and head out to the park with $300 million going towards doubling the amount available on the Active Kids program. Parents will now have two $100 vouchers to spend on organised sport and physical activity outside school hours.
The government is also keen to spruik a cool $18.5 billion for education, up more than a billion on last year's figures. $600 million of that will be added to a $6 billion capital spend to build or refurbish 190 schools. $1.3 billion is earmarked for clearing a maintenance backlog at public schools by 2020.
IF YOU WANT MORE HOSPITALS
The Government says they will spend $26.7 billion on health this year with $2.7 billion in new capital spending. More than 8000 new frontline health staff will be employed over four years and $10 billion to upgrade existing and build new hospitals.
IF YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
Not a lot to see here. A new national park will be created in south west Sydney and there will be no interest loans for solar panels and batteries. But hardly ground breaking stuff.
IF YOU DESPISE WOODEN BRIDGES
Rejoice. $500 million will be spent regional NSW to replace "worn out wooden bridges" with less rickety structures.
IF YOU'RE A FAN OF KOALAS
And let's face it, who isn't. The Government will deliver a $45 million program that includes setting aside more than 24,000 hectares of new koala reserves.