The Australian government has announced it will expand its digital identity system, touting that the move will allow more businesses to securely access government services online as part of its newly announced AU$800 million Digital Business Package.

The opt-in service allows users to verify their identity once before gaining access to over 70 government services, rather than having to continually be verified by each Commonwealth entity. It is currently being used by 1.6 million Australians and 1.16 million businesses.

“We need our businesses to be online, we need them to be digital businesses,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.

“In recent months we have seen through COVID a rapid acceleration produced by necessity of businesses really engaging and upgrading their digital capability. What we’re announcing today, will build on that. It will strengthen it and it will accelerate it.”

The package also includes AU$28.5 million dedicated towards rolling out the Consumer Data Right (CDR) in the banking and energy sectors. There are also plans for that investment to be used for applying the CDR to mortgages and personal loans by the end of the year.

The Commonwealth has also vowed that all government agencies will adopt e-invoicing by 1 July 2022 to allow small businesses transacting with government to be paid faster. In addition, it has proposed to pay e-invoices within five days.  

“90% of small and medium businesses today still use paper-based invoices, and if you take the Commonwealth together with the states, governments are responsible for around 10% of all business invoices,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“It is hoped that the Commonwealth by taking the lead in e-invoicing will lead to states … to follow in the Commonwealth’s lead in this respect.”

Read more: New Australian cybersecurity strategy will see Canberra get offensive

Other elements of the