NSW strikes free birth certificate deal

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Hundreds of vulnerable people across NSW will get free birth certificates in a bid to link them to key services including secure housing and applying for a driver licence.

A deal struck between the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages and Legal Aid NSW would provide up to 700 free birth certificates for vulnerable people, particularly in regional and remote NSW, the state government said on Friday.

It was targeted at those experiencing economic disadvantage, Indigenous people and survivors of domestic and family violence.

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The program will focus on Albury, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Coonamble, Moree, Newcastle and Taree.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said while many people took their birth certificate for granted, some residents across the state struggled without one.

“Without a birth certificate, many of life’s important moments like getting a job, enrolling in further education, opening a bank account or getting a driver licence are made so much harder,” Mr Speakman said in a statement.

“Having a birth certificate can also be critical for people who need to access basic government services.”

Legal Aid NSW Acting CEO Monique Hitter said cost, literacy and other barriers to obtaining birth certificates were sometimes also connected with legal problems.

She said the agency’s lawyers saw people, especially in rural and remote communities, who did not have a birth certificate and as a result struggled “to get a licence or get access to other essential services”.

“Not having a birth certificate can impact on other everyday legal issues such as debt problems or obtaining safe and secure housing,” she said in a statement.

The program will run until the end of June.

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