A CAMPAIGN to ensure every Australian child receives a free birth certificate was yesterday pushed by an Armidale delegation, which travelled to Canberra to meet with ministers and Opposition spokespeople.
The delegation includes University of New England students and a Community Mutual Group representative and is supported by Armidale businesses and community groups and Monash University.
The campaign is calling for birth certificates to be issued for free, within 60 days of a birth being registered.
In all Australian states and territories birth certificates are not automatically issued once a birth has been registered. The certificates are only created once a separate application is completed and payment for the document is made.
The group went to Canberra at the invitation of independent member for New England Tony Windsor who said he was pleased to organise meetings for the delegation to kickstart its campaign.
“Many Australians don’t have a birth certificate, which prevents them from doing everyday things, such as enrolling in school, opening a bank account or getting a driver’s licence,” Mr Windsor said.
“A lack of birth certificates is particularly prevalent in indigenous communities, compounding disadvantage and stopping people participating in the community.
“The delegation from Armidale is campaigning for every Australian child to automatically receive a birth certificate for free and they’re hoping to achieve it by June.”
He organised for the delegation to meet with Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, and requested meetings with shadow Attorney-General George Brandis and Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton.
“I’m pleased that local people have been able to directly make their case to both the Attorney-General and the health minister,” Mr Windsor said.
“Some great ideas come out of the New England and I’m always happy to do what I can to help them come to fruition.
“The inspiration for this campaign came through the delegation’s work at Armidale’s Minimbah School, where they discovered that a lack of birth certificates is so widespread.”