Accenture-built digital passenger forms to launch in December

04 November 2021 3 min. read

Due to launch in December, a newly digitised passenger arrivals form is to be the first application under the government’s Permissions Capability Platform, which is being built by Accenture.

As many Australians eye the reopening of the country’s international borders, professional services firm Accenture has been busy at work preparing the federal government’s new Digital Passenger Declaration platform, which is slated to go live in December. Required to be filled three days in advance of boarding for Australia, the digitised system will replace the standard passenger arrival cards, as well as the current Covid-19 screening web-form.

As well as the usual immigration and customs fare, the Digital Passenger Declaration will also capture the vaccination status of international visitors and returning Australians – with verification capacity for the new international Covid-19 vaccination certificate to be added after launch – with the Commonwealth then able to share passenger details and contact information with state and territory health authorities and other government departments.

Accenture-built digital passenger forms to launch in December

“The Digital Passenger Declaration will support the safe re-opening of Australia’s international borders, by providing digitally-verified Covid-19 vaccination details,” said Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs. “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.”

The digital declaration form is part of a wider suite of information-gathering intended under the ‘Permissions Capability Platform’ being built by Accenture, at a reported cost of around $60 million over three years, with the overarching tech to be adapted to capture ‘cumbersome’ processes such as import permits, identity cards, licenses, registrations, and visas – the latter after the government scrapped a contentious visa privatisation plan last year.

The aborted plan cost the Australian tax-payer to the tune of $65 million in consultancy fees (and more than $90 million overall), with Boston Consulting Group walking away with almost $45 million after first being brought in on the project in 2015. In addition to Accenture, which won the tender against rival bids from IBM and PwC, development of the permissions capabilities project has also been assisted by KPMGDeloitte and McKinsey among others.

Despite abandoning its visa privatisation plan following a fierce public backlash, the government continues to face criticism for outsourcing and its off-the-shelf approach to technology procurement for sensitive services. “This new platform is critical digital infrastructure that should be built in-house by the public service, so it is publicly owned and controlled by Parliament,” the Community and Public Sector Union’s Michael Tull told InnovationAus.