The implementation of new passport legislation
The department drove legislative change to reflect contemporary social circumstances, address problems with passport applications and misuse, and strengthen our passports service. Changes include:
- an amended definition of persons with parental responsibility which simplifies consent procedures for up to one-third of complex children’s passport applications
- a right to refuse to process a passport application if fraud, such as a forged parental consent signature, is suspected
- a decision to issue child applicants aged 16 or 17 years with 10-year passports instead of the 5-year passports issued to children under 16, delivering deregulatory savings to families
- new approaches to serial passport losses designed to encourage greater passport security and timely reporting of loss or theft.
Many of the changes took effect on 1 January 2016, along with annual fee increases.
To ensure a seamless cutover, we:
- adjusted passport IT systems to enable the smooth collection and processing of applications
- provided information and training on the new provisions, policies and systems to Passport Office and overseas mission staff, 1,650 Australia Post outlets accredited as passport agencies and Australian Passport Information Service helpline operators
- amended the content of the passport website, updated electronic application forms and promoted the use of online services to the public.
At a time of peak demand we assimilated the new arrangements quickly into business as usual. We maintained high client service standards and improved the availability and transparency of eligibility information. By strengthening the integrity of our system, we reaffirmed the passport’s status as Australia’s premier identity document.