The number of birth registrations for babies born at Dubbo has increased by 45 per cent in the past six months since the rollout of a new online system.
The rise has been welcomed by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which wants all children to have an official identity and access to all the opportunities a birth certificate brings.
The new online registration form is being credited with being a big factor in the 68 per cent increase in Aboriginal birth registrations in Dubbo per month since March.
The new system is part of the Our Kids Count campaign, which aims to increase Aboriginal birth registrations through better access to information about the process.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman reported across the state there had been significant improvement.
“The number of unregistered Aboriginal births has traditionally been too high, but we’re closing the gap by highlighting the importance of registration and making the process faster and easier to complete,” he said.
A birth certificate allows people to fully participate in society...NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman
“A birth certificate allows people to fully participate in society and without one, many of the basic opportunities we take for granted such as enrolling in school, sport or getting a driver licence, become unnecessary complicated and out of reach.”
By law, every baby must be registered, but some parents do not realise it is up to them, not the hospital.
Dubbo Hospital was one of two facilities in the state chosen for a pilot of the online registration process.
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Registry service delivery reform manager, Ben Finn, said it was achieving great results.
In the short time since the pilot began at the end of January, 98.2 per cent of births registered at Dubbo had been via the new online registration form, he reported.
The city was ahead of the statewide figure of 90 per cent.
“It’s obviously easier to do things online, people are more used to doing things online, it’s consistent with other things they’re doing online, such as banking or tax even these days,” he said.
“Also it’s more immediate, you get a response from us straight away that we’ve received it.”
He advised that registering a child was free, and it was not necessary to purchase a birth certificate “then and there”.