The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is the first federal government department to switch to smartcards for its 6,000 employees.
Federal government CIO, Ann Steward, together with DEEWR CIO, Glenn Archer, will officially announce the smartcard rollout at a briefing in Canberra later today which will include a live demonstration of the new technology.
DEEWR has taken a leading role in the development of a whole-of-government staff identification Framework, alongside other agencies including Centrelink, which will also release a new staff card this year.
Steward said the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has worked closely with agencies to develop a best practice Framework for staff identification cards.
The Framework is titled IMAGE (Identity Management for Australian Government Employees) and a revised version is currently with agencies for consultation.
Archer said the new DEEWR staff smartcard complies with this draft.
"This is the second generation of smartcards, following five years' of successful operation of the first generation cards," Archer said.
"This new generation of cards offers an improvement in security, due to two-factor authentication to deliver a secure access to classified and unclassified information.
"Security features of the cards will make them useful for identifying DEEWR staff to each other, to other staff, other agencies, and the public."
The cards will be used for photographic identification, building access and secure logon to the department's computers.
Staff will receive their new smartcards by the end of October this year.
Today's announcement is a far cry from the bungled $1.1 billion Access Card the previous government tried to introduce last year.
The project was dumped by the current Labor government following the federal election in November, 2007.
- with Sandra Rossi