National rollout for program providing birth certificates for the disadvantaged

Published 16 July 2015

A University of New England student initiated program providing thousands of birth certificates to Australians who don’t have one will be rolled out nationally over the next three years.birth-certificates

The team is currently lead by UNE’s Will Winter who coordinates the Minimbah Project. It has provided more than 3000 free birth certificates in the last two years and raised over $250 000 to fund its work.

“The program has recently attracted $900 000 from the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet to roll the project out nationally over the next three years. We’re aiming to issue another 10,000 certificates each year.”

The national project will now be led by local not-for-profit group Pathfinders, and will maintain its close links with UNE.

“Groups keen to make a difference in regional communities such as UNE Enactus, along with education, social scientists and health specialists with an interest in lifelong participation in society are encouraged to be involved,” Mr Winter said.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 Australians may not be registered and do no not own birth certificates and that a further 35,000 or 12% of babies born each year for various reasons do not have their births registered in the first year of life.

“This mostly affects indigenous and low socio-economic families who struggle to access mainstream society due to insufficient proof of their legal identity in Australia.

“Birth certificates provide the foundation for full participation in Australian society. It is the first right of citizenship, upon which all other privileges and responsibilities are built. We are changing the lives, one by one, and strengthening community capacity in the regions where we deliver.”

Last week the UNE Enactus team won the prestigious 2015 Australian Enactus Championships in Melbourne. The Minimbah Project was a major part of the team’s successful presentation and the team will now represent Australia at the World Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa in October.

Will Winter, UNE Enactus, or M: 0407 820 049