The price of Queensland driver's licences is set to more than double as the state embraces new chip technology.
The new licences, embedded with a computer chip, will be introduced in Toowoomba before the end of this year, before becoming available across the state by the end of 2011.
Special biometric imaging will replace the current polaroid photo on laminated licences.
Advertisement: Story continues below"The laminate driver's licences currently in use across Queensland have been in existence for almost 25 years and are in need of a major overhaul," Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said.
The price of a new five-year licence will initially rise from $73.30 to $96.05, before escalating again to $152.50 in 2014, an overall increase of 108 per cent.
The cost will be even greater for truck drivers who will need a separate heavy vehicle licence under the new system.
The price increase is the latest hit for the state's drivers, after hefty registration cost increases came into effect last year, while the government scrapped the fuel subsidy.
brisbanetimes.com.au reported last year at how the new licence would begin rolling out in 2010.
RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.
''We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we've seen,'' Mr Fites said.
''This is something people pay for every five years. It's not hitting them every year, and it's not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].
''We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.''
The biometric cameras needed in Queensland Transport offices and police stations will cost the state government $10,000 each to install and operate.
Smart licences have been six years in the planning and it is expected to take a further five before the rollout is complete.
Drivers will not be forced to switch to the new licences but will instead wait until their old ones expire.
Cards will still display traditional licencing information such as the licence number, name, date of birth, gender and height, address, class of licence and expiry date but the on-board microchip can be programmed with further data.
The chip will hold digital versions of the displayed information as well as digital certificates to prove the authenticity of the card as well as a "record of access" to show who has accessed information contained on the chip.
Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.
Authorities have said only Queensland and interstate police, transport compliance officers and driver licensing authorities will be able to access information stored on the chip.
"Even police will need a court order to access the information," Ms Nolan said.
Drivers will have a 16-point hologram taken of their face, which will be stored in a central information system.
"That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name," the minister said.
Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.