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Politics

Budget 2024: Digital ID scores another $288 million towards $1 billion roll out

- May 14, 2024 3 MIN READ
digital ID
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Treasurer Jim Chalmers will also extend the instant asset write-off test for another year, allowing tech and other businesses to immediately deduct $20,000 from eligible assets.

Chalmers will hand down the budget tonight and announced on Tuesday that it will include a further $288.1 million for the digital identity scheme over the next four years, just weeks before the full-scale launch of the legislated national digital identity scheme.

The program has now been running for nearly a decade, with about $1 billion spent by successive Coalition and Labor governments.

The funding will be spread across a range of agencies and departments involved with the scheme and is a significant boost up from the $24.7 million that was provided in last year’s budget.

The bulk of the cash will go to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which will be receiving $155.6 million over two years for its work on myGovID and the relationship authorisation management service.

The ATO will also be sharing $23.4 million over two years with the Department of Finance and Services Australia to pilot the use of government digital wallets and verifiable credentials.

Services Australia will receive $46 million over two years to operate and improve the identity exchange, while Finance will get $35.2 million over two years to help run the program.

The Attorney-General’s department will receive $11 million over four years to work on the credential protection register, Treasury will get $7.8 million over two years to support data standards, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has landed $5.6 million for its privacy oversight role.

It comes ahead of the launch of legislation around the digital identity scheme, expected to be from July this year.

The Digital ID Bill 2024 passed the Senate in late March after the government agreed to more than 40 amendments, focused on ensuring the scheme is fully voluntary, improved privacy protections, and a fast-tracked expansion to the private sector.

The bill still needs final approval from the lower house before being passed into law.

Announcing the new funding, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher referenced the recent ClubsNSW data breach, saying that this incident showed “how important it is to help Australians reduce the risk of identity theft”.

“Accessing services online with a secure Digital ID restricts the oversharing of personal information and means there are less copies of your ID data and documents out in the world,” Gallagher said in a statement.

Asset write-off extension

The 2024-25 budget will also include an extension to the instant asset write-off threshold, which allows small businesses with annual turnover under $10 million to immediately deduct $20,000 from eligible assets.

This scheme was extended to the current financial year in last year’s budget, but legislation facilitating this is still yet to pass Parliament, meaning small businesses have been unable to make claims under the expanded program.

The legislation stalled after the Opposition pushed for the eligibility threshold to be lifted to an annual turnover of $50 million and the deduction limit to $30,000.

Amendments implementing these changes passed the Senate with the support of the crossbench, but the bill has not received final approval in the lower house.

The government voted against the expansion of thresholds under the scheme in the Senate.

Currently, the write-off scheme would have expired at the end of next month, but the budget changes will extend it to all of 2024-25.

Without the legislation in Parliament, the current version of the instant asset write-off test allows small businesses with annual turnover under $10 million to claim deductions for assets valued under $1,000 that were first used or installed between 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024.

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