Forgotten births leave lives in limbo

Published 01 July 2014

Students from the University of New England have been in Canberra throughout this week, lobbying Federal Ministers to help give a forgotten generation of Australians an official identity.

UNE student and Minimbah Project leader Reece Trickey said the group were seeking political support to fix a hole in the system, which sees thousands of under-privileged Australians go through life without a birth certificate.

“It is estimated over 300,000 Australians are unregistered and uncertified – a seemingly minor administrative oversight that can have some hefty consequences for many under privileged Australians, notably in indigenous communities,” Mr Trickey said.

“The lack of a birth certificate can impact everything from delaying education and missed employment opportunities, to impede opening a bank account, or acquiring a passport or drivers licence.”

In an attempt to address the issue for these forgotten people, UNE’s Minimbah Project team of UNE students have been holding free birth registration sessions at community centres and sports events in regional NSW and southern QLD, for several years.

While fundraising activities supported these sessions, it soon became clear that retrospectively issuing certificates was unsustainable due to the sheer numbers and geographical dispersion of the people affected.

“The team saw the need to head ‘up stream’ to resolve the problem at its source,” Mr Trickey said.
“There are a number of technology reform programs underway in which the automation of birth registration and birth certificates could be integrated.

“We’ve spent the week in Canberra, asking for politicians to support streamlining birth registration, so it’s integrated and automated within existing systems.

“As an added bonus the reforms will save governments $ms, through more efficient delivery of these vital services for all Australians”

For more information or to arrange vision of this story contact Will Winter on 0407 820 049 or
UNE News & Media on 02 6773 2551

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