Privacy collection notice
The NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (the Registry) is part of the NSW Department of Customer Service.
We ensure that your personal and health information is managed according to law.
About this notice
This notice provides an overview of how we handle your personal information in line with our obligations under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
Collection and use
The Registry is responsible for the administration of legislation including the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 and the Relationship Register Act 2010 and the regulations made under those Acts (“our legislation”).
We collect your personal information in order to register NSW life events accurately and securely in perpetuity, ensuring their integrity and confidentiality.
Under our legislation, we are sometimes required to collect your personal information from someone else. For example, hospitals notify us of births, celebrants notify us of marriages, and funeral directors, medical practitioners and in some cases the coroner notify us of deaths.
When you use our services, we will generally ask for your name, residential address, phone number and email address. We may ask for other information, such as your date of birth or the date of a registrable event, and may ask for information contained in proof of identity documents.
We use the information we collect from you and others to:
- register births, deaths, marriages, adoptions, surrogacy, relationships, changes of name and changes of sex
- amend the Register, where an entry in the Register is incorrect
- verify your identity, including by reference to identity documents that you provide to us
- establish your entitlement to a certificate that you have applied for
- check whether you have a criminal record, are a “restricted person” as defined under our legislation or are a “registrable person” under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000, including by checking the information you provide against information provided to us by the Department of Communities and Justice, the NSW Police Force or another agency
- conduct checks with our equivalent bodies in other States and Territories, before registering a change of name
- manage the Australian Death Notification Service
- provide identity remediation advice and services, including by reissuing documents where existing identity documents have been compromised, and
- provide a range of certificates, products, and information services, including to help you establish a range of legal entitlements.
We collect and use your personal information for related purposes, such as updating your records or responding to customer inquiries over the phone, online or by email. Once we collect your information, we may use it when we provide you with these and future services. We may also use the information we collect from you for quality assurance and statistical purposes.
You will know when we collect information directly from you because we will ask for it specifically, generally in a form or in some cases over the phone, online or by email.
Where you submit an application to us, we may contact you to confirm the information in your application, or to request additional information or discuss the outcome of your application.
We use your contact details to send you information or a certificate that you have applied for or otherwise requested.
We sometimes share your information within the Department of Customer Service. For example, we may share information with Revenue NSW, to assist Revenue NSW with an inquiry, or where Revenue NSW has information that may assist us in determining whether to register a change of name, for example. We may share your information with Ministerial Services or DCS Legal where appropriate.
We are legally required to notify you of the intended recipients of the personal information that we collect from you. We may disclose your personal information as follows.
We may disclose your personal information to another person or body, with your consent.
Document Verification Service
The Commonwealth has established the Document Verification Service (DVS) to enable secure online real-time checking of official documents. We will validate your birth certificate, marriage certificate, change of name certificate or death registration certificate when requested to do so by a participant in the DVS. We will also use the DVS to validate other identity credentials that you provide to us as proof of your identity, such as your passport number, Medicare number or driver licence number.
Verification of information you provide to us
We may disclose your personal information to a third party to verify that the information that you have provided to us is correct. For example, if you apply to change your name, we routinely conduct checks with our equivalent bodies in other States and Territories, before deciding whether to register the change.
Reciprocal arrangements with other States and Territories
Under our legislation, we can enter into reciprocal arrangements with other States and Territories that have laws providing for the registration of births, deaths and marriages. We can exercise functions under those corresponding laws and the Registrar of another State or Territory can exercise functions under our laws, in accordance with administrative arrangements entered into for that purpose. For example, we currently have an arrangement in place with the Victorian Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages, so that we can register the births of babies born in Wodonga Hospital.
National death data
We provide death data to the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. It is the coordinating Registry that provides approved applicants with access to national fact of death data, national cause of death data and the Australian Death Check.
The website of the Queensland Government has more information about this service.
Australian Death Notification Service
If you use the Australian Death Notification Service, you can nominate organisations for us to notify that someone has died.
Confirmation of information held by authorised third parties
We have agreements in place with authorised third parties that enable them to check information they hold against our databases.
The organisations we have authorised for this purpose include the NSW Police Force and the Department of Communities and Justice, as well as other NSW and other State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies and some non-government organisations. Those organisations are able to access our databases in accordance with the agreements that we have with them.
We do not disclose any new information under these arrangements, we only confirm information that is already held by the authorised third party.
Law enforcement and intelligence purposes
Under our legislation, we may give access to specified law enforcement agencies to change of name applications and change of name entries in the Register, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into with the head of the agency.
We may disclose your personal information to any law enforcement agency (whether a NSW agency, an agency of another State or Territory or an agency of the Commonwealth) for law enforcement purposes.
We may disclose your personal information to any law enforcement agency (whether a NSW agency, an agency of another State or Territory or an agency of the Commonwealth) for intelligence purposes, including where that agency is investigating possible identity fraud.
Prevention of identity fraud
We are required to maintain the integrity of the Register and seek to prevent identity fraud associated with the Register and the information extracted from the Register. We conduct inquiries with third parties in order to prevent identity fraud. For example, we may check a family history or marital status with the NSW Police Force or the Department of Communities and Justice before deciding whether to register a change of name.
Responding to inquiries from external agencies
External agencies with relevant functions lodge inquiries with us. We respond to these on a case by case basis.
Third parties who may lodge inquiries include other NSW agencies (such as the Department of Communities and Justice, Transport for NSW or the NSW Crime Commission) and officials (such as the NSW Ombudsman or the Privacy Commissioner), other State and Territory agencies, and Commonwealth agencies (such as the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre or the Australian Federal Police).
One purpose of sharing information with external agencies is to resolve inconsistencies in official documents. For example:
- We may share information with Transport for NSW, if Transport for NSW tells us that a person has two NSW driver licences, or
- We may share information with the Department of Home Affairs, if the name on a person’s passport is different from the name that is registered with us.
We share information with external agencies both to assist the recipient agency with its inquiries and to enable us to ensure the integrity of our records.
Reporting fraud and other matters
Where we suspect fraud, other criminal activity or any type of unsatisfactory professional conduct, we will refer or report matters, including the outcome of any type of inquiry or investigation that we may conduct, to any third party with sufficient interest in the matter, as determined by us, such as:
- the Australian Taxation Office
- the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), if we suspect a case of fraud or other financial crime, and
- an appropriate regulatory or industry body, if we suspect a case of unsatisfactory professional conduct (for example, the Tax Practitioners Board or the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner).
Where authorised by law
We may disclose your personal information to another person or body whenever authorised or required, or permitted or necessarily implied or reasonably contemplated, under an Act or any other law, including a law of the Commonwealth. For example, we may disclose your personal information:
- by providing access to the Register, in accordance with our legislation
- by issuing certificates certifying particulars that are contained in the Register, in accordance with our legislation
- by issuing old or new birth certificates, in accordance with our legislation
- by providing notice of specified matters to a person or body as required under law, or
- in response to a subpoena, court order, warrant or statutory demand.
We determine requests for information for research purposes on a case by case basis. We routinely provide de-identified information for research purposes. We do not disclose personal information for research purposes unless the disclosure complies with applicable privacy laws.
We provide personal and health information to the NSW Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL). CHeReL links the data to other information it holds or obtains and then makes de-identified information available for research and policy development.
We may disclose historical, genealogical or other information from time to time in relation to our activities and services, including school records, baptism records and information relating unregistered births and the location of wills.
We may disclose your personal information to any government Minister to whom we are responsible.
Providing your personal information
In most cases, you are legally required to provide the information that we collect from you. This is the case where you:
- Register a birth
- Register an adoption
- Register a parentage order
- Register a change of name
- Apply to register a change of sex or apply to alter a person's sex on a birth registration
- Register a relationship, or
- Register a death.
In some circumstances, there may be no legal obligation to provide your personal information. However, if you do not provide personal information that we ask for, we may not be able to provide the product or service that you request.
Accessing or updating your information
Under NSW privacy law, you have a legal right to access and update your own personal information. However, where your personal information is contained in the Register, it can only be corrected in accordance with our legislation.
Information in the Register will be corrected where required by a court, to reflect a finding made by us on inquiry or to bring an entry into conformity with the most reliable information available to us.
Please note that historical records generally cannot be changed but we may in some circumstances be able to make a notation on our records of an amendment that you have requested.
Service NSW acts as a shopfront for us and performs transactions for you, on our behalf. This privacy collection notice applies whether the services are provided directly by us or by Service NSW on our behalf.
NSW privacy law regulates our handling of “personal information” (information or an opinion about you, where your identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion) and “health information” (personal information about your physical health, mental health or disability, or information obtained in the provision of a health service). This privacy collection notice applies to our handling of health information as well as personal information, unless the context indicates otherwise.
We are required by law to tell you, in general terms, when we collect your health information from someone else. Under our legislation, we are required to collect the following health information:
- In relation to a death notification by a medical practitioner or the coroner, the cause of death
- In relation to an application to register a change of name by a forensic patient, a copy of the written notice of approval to make the application, from the supervising authority, and
- In relation to a stillbirth notification, the period of gestation and the cause of death, from the hospital, medical practitioner or midwife.
We may collect information from third parties where a birth occurs outside a hospital. For example, if a baby is born in an ambulance, we may ask NSW Ambulance for the location of the birth. If baby is born at home, we may ask whether there was a midwife present or whether there were witnesses to the birth.
We collect information about change of sex as specified under our legislation. This includes that an application must be accompanied by statutory declarations as prescribed.
We are required by law to provide you with the name and address of the public sector agency that is collecting and holding your personal information.
The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is part of the Department of Customer Service,
McKell Building, 2-4 Rawson Pl, Haymarket NSW 2000