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Community & Business

21 June, 2023

Free birth certificates for First Nations people in Gilgandra

Pathfinders and UNICEF Australia are partnering to provide free birth certificates to First Nations people in North West New South Wales.

By Supplied

Over two weeks in June, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cobar, Nyngan, Warren, Gilgandra, and Coonabarabran are invited to attend face to face sign up days where they can apply for and receive their birth certificates.

The five events are part of the Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program (PNABC) which is open to parents who would like to get birth certificates for their children, as well adults who don’t have a birth certificate.

Pathfinders CEO, Alan Brennan, said there are an estimated 200,000 Aboriginal people around Australia who do not have their birth certificates and are unable to fully participate in the community.

“A birth certificate is essential for enrolling in school, getting a drivers license, voting, opening a bank account, getting a tax file number, a passport and applying for government benefits.

“Pathfinders and UNICEF Australia know that a birth certificate is a critical step in giving children opportunities in life, but it is never too late to get a birth certificate. Even adults have a lot to gain from getting their birth certificate and we’re hopeful for a large turnout at the sign up days.”

Over the two weeks, Pathfinders estimates it will help around 100 people from Nth West NSW to get their birth certificate. At each event, Pathfinders will be joined by experts from the community such as Local Land Council members can help make the process simple and answer questions.

UNICEF Australia’s Chief Advocate for Children, Nicole Breeze said having your birth recognised and having a birth certificate is extremely important.

“Without a birth certificate, a person’s ability to participate fully in society can become difficult over their lifetime. For children this can mean challenges accessing early learning opportunities, critical health checks and support that are vital for their development.

 “Globally, UNICEF is committed to enabling birth registration and legal identification for all children as part of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. In Australia, too many children have not had their birth registered or do not have a birth certificate. “UNICEF Australia and Pathfinders want every child to start their life with equal opportunities and a birth certificate is the first step,” she said.

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