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The Aussie travel ritual that's being phased out

Back then, the mullet was almost acceptable, Trump was a Democrat and people still ate gluten. It was the 80s and airport parking didn't cost half your airfare so my whole family would go to the airport when one or more of us went overseas.


The young ones would collect discarded luggage trolleys and return them for the 20 cent refund. The adults bought expensive, bad coffee and we all sat in the food court as whoever was leaving filled out their green departure card.


I, or one if my cousins, would have collected the cards at the check in counter and we'd argue over who got to fill them in or at the very least help with the answers. I credit this time for my knowledge of all my family members' birthdays and possibly my strange penchant for filling in official documents.


I still love filling in the cards, but when before someone would be walking us to the departure gate for an extended farewell, now we fill them in while in line at Immigration after hunting around for a pen that will have invariably run out of ink.


But it seems that soon we won't need to fill in departure cards at all.


The Outgoing Passenger Card is scheduled to be removed as is the orange arrival card, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) told


"Removing paper-based manual processes is integral to achieving a seamless and automated traveller experience," the DIBP said in a statement to


"The DIBP has been reviewing the use of paper-based passenger cards.


"Recognising the importance of the data collected on paper-based cards, DIBP has worked closely with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to identify and successfully test alternate data sources instead of relying on manual collection by paper-based cards.


"The Government is focused on low contact automated border clearance processes and technologies to manage the 50 million travellers expected annually by 2020."


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 13 June 2017

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