Thousands of young Western Australians will now be able to avoid the hassles of proving their age, particularly in hotels and taverns.
They will have an official proof-of-age card - complements of the State Government - showing their name, photo, date of birth and signature.
The 18+ Card, as it will be known, will be available on a voluntary basis to anyone 18 years or older.
The hard-wearing plasticised cards fit easily into a purse or wallet and will be issued free of charge through police licensing branches from tomorrow.
The new scheme is the result of a joint initiative by Racing and Gaming Minister Pam Beggs and Police Minister Graham Edwards. It will be sponsored by the Health Department and the Liquor Industry Council of WA.
Launching the card today, Mrs Beggs said: "The liquor industry has been concerned for some time about the problems young drinkers face when challenged about their age, particularly if they do not hold a driver's licence.
"The new cards will be a simple, fool-proof way of settling any doubts and avoiding unnecessary embarrassment for youngsters, publicans and the police."
Mrs Beggs said the cards could be used to indicate if a person was an organ donor, but for security reasons they would not include addresses.
"Similar proof-of-age cards available in other States are extremely popular," Mrs Beggs said.
"In Queensland, for instance, 15,000 cards have been issued since the scheme started a year ago, the majority to females aged 18 to 25."
Police Minister Graham Edwards said the cards were a community service which would help people such as the disabled and seniors who wanted simple proof of their identity but could not get a driver's licence.
"Even those with a driver's licence may want a card for those occasions when they'd prefer not to disclose their address," he said.
Mr Edwards said staff at the Police Licensing and Services Department deserved credit for setting up the scheme, making it simple and providing important safeguards.
A special data base, separate from existing police information systems, had been established to handle card records.
"The information will be confidential and will not be linked to other law enforcement data bases or used for any other purposes," Mr Edwards said.
Anyone wanting an 18+ Card must apply in person to a police licensing centre and provide proof of their age and identity.