New technology will mean many travellers will soon not need to present their passports when entering or leaving Australia.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is seeking tenders for a self-processing system to be introduced later this year.
The system will use fingerprints, iris or facial structure recognition at major air and sea ports.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the aim was for more than 90 per cent of passengers to avoid paperwork or manual processing by staff.
“In many cases that will mean people, whilst they’ll still have to carry their passport, may not have to present their passport at all in the long term,” Mr Dutton said.
“But in the immediate term, this will make it easier, it will make it quicker, for people going in and out of our airports.”
Mr Dutton said the $78 million upgrade would also boost security at the nation’s borders by making it easier to detect threats.
“Already we know from the money we’ve invested into biometrics collections that that is a much more reliable collection than we have with people just scanning manually passports,” he said.
“So there is the ability through this technology to improve detections of people that might be coming into our country to do the wrong thing.”
Mr Dutton said cutting down processing times for travellers was also likely to boost tourism.
He said the government was keeping an open mind as to what technology may be used as it sought tenders.