National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program

An estimated 300,000 Australians have not had their births registered and 500,000 do not have a birth certificate. As a consequence, many people struggle to fully participate in Australian society without this simple but vital document. They experience difficulty enrolling in schools and in accessing mainstream services, such as opening bank accounts, joining sporting clubs, voting, and applying for a job, a driver’s licence or a passport.

Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program

The Pathfinders Aboriginal Birth Certificate Project, was an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program that aimed to redress this issue by conducting sign-up days in towns and areas where there are significant numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who don’t have birth certificates. Since the program’s inception more than 8,000 people have gained access to their birth certificates.


A free Birth Certificate was available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants who meet the following criteria:

  1. Are preparing to attend pre-school
  2. Are preparing to attend primary school
  3. Are preparing to attend secondary school
  4. Are transitioning from school to the workforce
  5. Are transitioning from school into further education
  6. Were born in NSW, Qld, ACT or Vic
  7. A parent of children / young people applying is also eligible

ID requirements

Pathfinders recognised that in the absence of a Birth Certificate it was difficult to produce the forms of identification required to apply for a certificate. Several forms of identification are still required by law and Parents/Guardians and young people 16 yrs and over must have 3 forms of ID from the following:

Category 1
(You need one from here)

Category 2
(You need two from here)

Proof of Guardianship
(You need one from here)

Driver’s License

Medicare Card

Child’s name on Medicare card


Credit or Debit Card

Child’s name on C’link card

Firearm’s License

Proof of Age Card

Letter from at GP

RTA or RMS Photo card

Letter from Centrelink

Centrelink Benefit Card

Certificate of Aboriginality

Marriage License

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