Aboriginal births registered in NSW climbed by 53 per cent last year with a record 7,491 births recorded, Attorney General Mark Speakman, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello announced today.
Mr Speakman said the increase had been sparked by the highly successful Our Kids Count campaign targeting Indigenous communities and the introduction of online birth registrations across NSW in April last year.
“It’s wonderful to see so many Aboriginal families taking advantage of the convenience of online registrations, particularly in remote areas where they may not have easy access to shopfront services,” Mr Speakman said.
Mr Harwin said the Our Kids Count campaign highlighted that registering a birth is free and vital to the future of all Aboriginal children.
“Without registration, it’s not possible to get a birth certificate and it can be difficult to access education, health and sporting services,” Mr Harwin said.
“A birth certificate also gives children their first form of identification in life, which is a basic legal right. Despite this, registrations have traditionally been alarmingly low in Aboriginal communities.”
As part of Our Kids Count, Indigenous staff from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages have visited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and worked with a range of groups including land councils, health and non-government organisations.
Online birth registrations have also been a major hit among the broader NSW community, with 95 per cent of the state’s applications now completed electronically. More than 107,000 births have been processed since the system was launched – a 13.3 per cent increase on the previous year.
“New parents want to spend time with their bundles of joy, not bundles of paperwork. The online platform is saving time and enabling them to register their child at a time that suits them,” Mr Dominello said.
A child’s birth should be registered within 60 days and hospitals provide parents with information about the free process. To access the online form go to: www.bdm.nsw.gov.au.