Canberra International Airport will become the test ground early next year for the next generation of arrivals SmartGates which will eventually lead to contactless processing at Australia's airports for international travellers.

Trials are expected to begin in Canberra in early 2018 and initially the new SmartGates will operate in 'contact' mode where travellers will insert their passport for processing.


But then the Canberra gates will be switched to 'contactless' mode enabling an increasing number of incoming passengers to pass through the airport without having to produce their passport with the new technology using biometric facial authentication.

After the Canberra trial, 105 new SmartGates will be rolled out across Australia's international airports through 2018 and 2019.

Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection said the Australian Government had invested $330 million over the past three years to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of technological solutions to support border protection.

'This investment has led to the establishment of an ecosystem of sophisticated and innovative intelligence, data analytics, biometrics and processing capabilities that seamlessly manages the movement of people and goods across Australia's border,' he pointed out.

During a visit to the airport to speak with the Australian Border Force Dutton added: 'Seeing ABF officers using this state of the art technology strengthens the critical role they play, both in Australia and offshore, in identifying individuals who cross Australia's border. This technology is allowing ABF officers to focus more effort on traveller interactions, intelligence gathering and enforcement activities'.

According to Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the extensive range of technologies being used at the Australian border is yet another demonstration of the Government delivering on its Digital Transformation Agenda.

'I'm impressed by the innovative technologies already in use at our airports, in particular the SmartGates which allow the vast majority of travellers to instantly clear the border,' he said.

'The new generation SmartGates will make travelling easier, processing individuals in and out of Australia in about 20 seconds,' he added.

In addition to SmartGates, the ABF uses a range of innovative technologies to conduct border operations more broadly. Officers at our international airports have access to cutting edge X-ray equipment and a range of drug and explosive detection technology.

Each year an average of 40 million people are cleared through the border at Australian international airports and this number is expected to rise to 50 million in the next few years.