Attorney-General urged to get back to basics with birth registrations

LNP Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki is calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to act on today’s Queensland Ombudsman* report that shows 15-18% of indigenous births are not being registered in Queensland.

Today the Queensland Ombudsman submitted its findings of an investigation into the under-registration of indigenous births in Queensland.

Mr Janetzki said without a birth registration, a person is “legally invisible” and can suffer significant lifelong disadvantage as a result.

“About 15-18% of indigenous births are not registered compared with an under-registration rate of only 1.8% for non-Indigenous births,” Mr Janetzki said.

“Yvette D’Ath needs to urgently act on these findings instead of focusing on adding another gender to Queensland birth certificates.

“Labor need to focus on getting back to basics and make sure the birth of all Queenslanders are actually recorded.”

Mr Janetzki said birth registrations help Queenslanders throughout their lives.

“Without a birth certificate a person can face difficulties enrolling in school, getting a driver’s licence, joining sporting clubs, and opening a bank account,” Mr Janetzki said.

The report identified a number of issues in the birth, deaths and marriages’ birth registration and certification processes which may be contributing to the lower rates of indigenous birth registrations in Queensland.

These included:

  • a perception that there is a cost involved in registering a birth
  • the fees and penalties associated with late birth registration
  • the fee for the birth certificate and the absence of a fee waiver policy
  • the shift to online birth registration – particularly for remote Indigenous people as it requires computer literacy as well as access to a computer, the internet and a printer
  • methods of interacting with Indigenous clients that may not be culturally appropriate
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