Australia Suspends COVID Passport App

Australia has retired the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) app, which had lots of bad reviews. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the app “needs a lot more work.”

Earlier this week, O’Neil announced that people traveling to Australia will no longer be required to complete a DPD to declare their vaccination status starting July 7, 2022.

The app, launched in March to replace the Australia Travel Declaration, collected passport information, contact information, vaccination status, and travel history. It was also serving as a test as the government planned for it to be used across government services.

“Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays in our airports but will encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as a destination,” O’Neil said.

“And for Australian citizens, with the removal of these requirements, returning home will be much easier.

“I know anyone who has traveled internationally since the borders have opened will find this as one less thing to worry about – especially as more Australians get back to traveling overseas.

“We’ve also listened to feedback about the DPD. While in time it will replace the paper-based incoming passenger card, it needs a lot more work to make it user friendly.”

DPD has faced several issues including a delay in its launch and scathing reviews from users. The public sector union also criticized it for being “error-riddled” and criticized the government for outsourcing such sensitive technology. The government contracted Irish firm Accenture to develop the permissions capability of the DPD.

The procurement process of the project is being investigated by the audit office. Accenture alone has been awarded contracts worth over $60 million. The government allocated $74.9 million for the project in the 2020-2021 budget.

Reporting from Reclaim the Net.