Indigenous birth registration and certification in Australia

What’s the story?

Many Indigenous people have trouble obtaining birth certificates.

In today’s world this can cause a host of problems when someone wants to enrol in education, get a driver’s licence, open a bank account, travel overseas, start a business, get a job in the public service, or even get a tax file number.

In some parts of Australia, driving without a licence can see you end up in jail, and other problems can make an already hard life, even harder.

Preliminary research suggests that in some areas many Aboriginal births go unregistered.

We want to find out the extent of under registration of Indigenous births, the reasons why some Indigenous Australians don’t register the birth of their children, and why others, whose birth was registered, have difficulties obtaining a copy of their birth certificate. We want to hear the ideas of Indigenous Australians regarding how these problems can be fixed. Such information is critical to coming up with ways of making the process better meet the needs of ALL Australians.

We also want to understand more about the problems that Indigenous Australians face if they don’t have a birth certificate, and what steps they take to overcome these problems.

This website is designed to share information about the Closing the Gap on Indigenous Birth Registration and Certification Project and its progress, provide links to relevant information and resources and introduce you to the research team, our partners and how you can contact us.

Associate Professor Paula Gerber, May 2013
Deputy Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

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