26 September 2023

Mum’s the word on free Birth Certificates

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The NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages and Legal Aid NSW are to circulate hundreds of Birth Certificates to vulnerable people in regional and remote areas of the State at no cost.

Announcing the plan, the Attorney General Mark Speakman said the people eligible for the program would include those experiencing economic disadvantage, Aboriginal people and the survivors of domestic and family violence.

Mr Speakman (pictured) said the two Agencies would provide up to 700 free Birth Certificates for the eligible people.

“Many of us take having a Birth Certificate for granted,” Mr Speakman said.

“But without a Birth Certificate, many of life’s important moments, like getting a job, enrolling in further education, opening a bank account or getting a driver licence, are made so much harder.”

He said having a Birth Certificate could also be critical for people who need to access basic Government services.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Victor Dominello also supported the program, saying the Government was committed to ensuring everyone had access to the vital identity document.

“Providing on-the-ground support to help our vulnerable communities is central to building an inclusive society where support can be accessed by those who need it most,” Mr Dominello said.

Acting Chief Executive of Legal Aid NSW, Monique Hitter said that cost, literacy and other barriers to obtaining Birth Certificates were sometimes connected with legal problems.

“Our lawyers sometimes see people in rural and remote communities who don’t have Birth Certificates and who struggle to get a licence or get access to other essential services,” Ms Hitter said.

“Not having a Birth Certificate can impact on other everyday legal issues such as debt problems or obtaining safe and secure housing.”

She said Legal Aid NSW would work with partners in communities where high need has been identified such as Albury, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Coonamble, Moree, Newcastle and Taree.

The free Birth Certificates will be available until 30 June.

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