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Getting Australian Passports Could Become Much Harder


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#1 BlueDog



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Posted 21 March 2016 - 02:00 PM

Australia Post may lose contract for passport interviews

Attached File  australian-passport-difficult-australia-post.jpg   37.3KB   0 downloads

THE days of visiting the local post office to apply for a passport could soon be at an end.

Australians who live in cities could be forced to travel up to 20km for passport interviews and country residents would visit bookmobile-style mobile shopfronts under possible options for overhauling passport application services.

As the population grows and more Australians travel overseas, the Federal Government is preparing for the number of passport applications by Australians to skyrocket from 1.8 million in 2014-15 to 3 million by 2019.

Enhanced online passport application services have been flagged as one of the solutions for dealing with the increased workload.

Australia Post’s contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to supply passport application lodgement services is due to expire at the end of June 2017 and there is no guarantee the arrangement will be continued.

DFAT has indicated it is possible that several companies will be contracted to provide passport application services nationally or in different regions across Australia.

A request for expressions of interest documents issued by the department says providers will need to have sufficient trained staff to provide passport application services during business hours.

They would also need to comply with strict privacy and security rules.

“Preferably clients in Central Business Districts should not have to travel greater than 20 kilometres to lodge an Australian passport application,” the document says.

DFAT is seeking “innovative solutions’’ to provide passport services in country areas.

“… for example by using mobile shopfronts — a permanent physical presence is not necessarily required.”

DFAT also wants to upgrade online passport application systems, possibly enabling clients to electronically submit their facial images and signature and document images.

Greater use of web-based systems at passport application centres would speed up interviews.

Losing the passport application lodgement contract would be a blow to Australia Post, which last year was forced to scale back home postal delivery services to offset falling revenue.

About 1700 post offices are able to conduct passport interviews and take passport-quality photos.

In the 12 months to January, more than 85,000 people applied for Australian passports in Adelaide and 18,800 applications were lodged in regional areas of South Australia.

Under the current system, passport interviews usually take between seven and nine minutes, not including the time needed to take photos.

Last year, more than 90 per cent of standard passport applications were processed within the target of 10 days.

The Australian and New Zealand governments are considering allowing passport-free travel between the two countries.

Travellers from both countries could use virtual “cloud passports’’ which stored personal information in a database accessible by border officials in both countries.

#2 AussieDude



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Posted 05 May 2016 - 01:09 AM

Last I heard, from a Perm Sec.  AustPost will not loose its franchise to validate Australian Passport Applications.  Dont forget its 90% Government owned.

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