29 April 2021

Digital birth certificates and child registrations to make life easier for parents

| Dominic Giannini
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Woman holding baby

The ACT will pilot a digital registration process for new parents to streamline applications across numerous government departments. Photo: File.

Families might soon find it easier to access ACT Government services with a pilot program allowing new parents to register their child’s details digitally.

Parents would only need to enter their child’s details once to sign them up for services such as birth registration, Medicare and the proof of birth required for Centrelink.

The pilot is expected to roll out in the ACT by mid-2022.

The ACT Government is also working with NSW on a national digital birth certificate, which will remove paperwork and save time for families who will no longer need to submit similar paperwork to numerous government departments.

The concept aims to give people access to the document digitally anywhere, anytime and in a secure way.

This will streamline applications for schools, health services, applying for a driver’s licence, and getting a bank account.

A proof of concept for the digital birth certificate is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2021 and all digital services will be opt-in only.

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“The ACT and NSW governments are working in partnership to ensure both project outcomes are complementary in the delivery of digital services to the ACT community,” said an ACT Government spokesperson.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said any digital identification and details will have rigorous privacy and security standards.

“It’s crucial to make any digital birth certificate a highly secure document that is easy to authenticate and is protected from fraudsters and criminals,” he said.

“That’s why we are carefully co-designing this proposal with the community to help prevent identity theft and crime.”

Any digital certificate would also need to be accessible to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, said Mr Speakman.

NSW implemented a digital driver’s licence in 2019 with cross-border residents allowed to use it as a form of identification in the ACT.

While the ACT does not yet have a digital version of driver’s licences that residents can use, the government had planned to bring in a similar system by the 2020-2021 financial year.

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