Please note: This is an extract from Hansard only. Hansard extracts are reproduced with permission from the Parliament of Western Australia.


Second Reading

MR T.R. BUSWELL (Vasse — Treasurer) [10.49 am]: I move —

That the bill be now read a second time.

The Western Australian Photo Card Bill 2013 will provide for a new photographic identity card. This card will directly assist those within our community who do not hold a driver’s licence, a proof-of-age card or other form of identification such as a passport to prove their identity. The Western Australian photo card will be purely voluntary and will be available to Western Australian residents aged 16 years and over. The photo card will provide Western Australian residents who have a need for photo identification with a secure document that will assist them to establish their identity within the community. Many people in the community often have a need to produce some form of personal identification to secure goods and services. Government agencies and businesses also rely on a photo identification document to provide assurance that the person they are dealing with is who they say they are.

Over recent years the Western Australian driver’s licence card has increasingly been used as a primary identification document and is relied upon as a trusted and reliable photo identification document, despite its specific purpose being to provide evidence of an authority to drive a motor vehicle. The government has been approached by numerous community groups asking for the introduction of a new photo card for those in the community who do not hold acceptable photo identification documents, in particular those who do not have a driver’s licence. At present these people, if 18 years of age or over, have only the option of applying for a proof-of-age card, which, although it contains a photograph, does not have the same level of recognition as a driver’s licence or passport. The government understands it has an obligation to ensure that people who are unable to obtain a driver’s licence for whatever reason are not unfairly disadvantaged. The passage of this bill by the house will ensure that the community is provided with a solution to this current problem.

The photo card will make it easier for older non-drivers and people with disabilities who require photo identification but cannot obtain an acceptable photo identification document. At present, these people are forced to apply under the liquor control framework for a proof-of-age card. The CEO of the Department of Transport will administer the legislation, and photo cards will be available through its driver and vehicle service centres and agents throughout Western Australia. The department’s management of and administrative control over the issuing process will allow the card to evolve with changes in identity security practices and policies. In addition, the department has the expertise and knowledge, along with the facilities and technical infrastructure, readily available to effectively deliver the photo card through its existing networks. The enrolment process and proof-of-identity requirement will have the same rigour as that required for the grant of a Western Australian driver’s licence. The photo card will also contain the same security features that currently apply to the Western Australian driver’s licence card, including facial recognition technology. The bill will require the CEO of the Department of Transport to maintain a photo card register and will give the department the power to correct any mistake, error or omission in the photo card register. The Western Australian community can be secure in the knowledge that the bill provides established safeguards on the release of information and photos contained in the photo card register. These safeguards mirror the existing safeguards provided in the Road Traffic Act 1974 for the release of driver’s licence information.

The photo card will cost approximately $35 and will be valid for five years, with no other fees applicable during that period. That fee will cover the administrative costs of application, including the production of the plasticised card. It should be noted that the approximate proposed $35 fee amounts to $7 a year. It is an estimate based on cost-recovery principles and will need some refinement as part of the annual fees and charges process. Given the low level of the annual fee and the need to recover the costs of administering the photo card system, the government does not propose to introduce a concessionary fee.

The photo card will replace the proof-of-age card issued by the Department of Transport on behalf of the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. The photo card will be prescribed as an acceptable evidence-of-age document for access to licensed premises under the Liquor Control Act 1988. To ensure a smooth transition between the cards, and so as not to disadvantage holders of the proof-of-age card, replacement proof-of-age cards will continue to be provided for a period of six months following the introduction of the photo card. The Western Australian photo card will provide real benefits to a large number of Western Australian residents.

I commend the bill to the house.

Debate adjourned on motion by Ms S.F. McGurk.