Dreyfus joins push for free birth certificates
Posted 4 hours 28 minutes ago
A push for governments to issue free birth certificates has won the support of Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.
An estimated 15,000 children born in Australia every year do not receive birth certificates, and about one-third are Indigenous.
Not having a birth certificate prevents people from doing things like registering to vote, gaining a driver’s licence or applying for a passport.
Mr Dreyfus will raise the matter at a meeting with his state and territory counterparts in Darwin today.
He says he will lobby his colleagues to reconsider the fees charged for issuing the documents.
“I’m going to be urging them to have a look at the pricing,” he said.
“At the moment there is only one state where you can get a waiver, New South Wales.
“I’m keen for the other states and territories to make birth certificates free or much more affordable than they are now.
“I think that birth certificates should be able to be obtained more cheaply, because in many cases getting that birth certificate is a very important thing.”
Students from the University of New England and the Community Mutual Group recently raised concerns over birth certificates when their financial literacy program in New South Wales could not create bank accounts for Aboriginal children because they did not have proper identification.
The group’s Will Winter says having proper ID is essential.
“It’s difficult to get into school, it’s difficult to get a licence, it’s difficult to get a bank account,” he said.