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, is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program that aims 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 approximately 4,700 people have gained access to their birth certificates.


The primary source of funding for the Pathfinders Aboriginal Birth Certificate Project comes from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS). The Australian Government is committed to achieving better results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in three priority areas – getting children to school, adults into work and building safe communities. To make this happen, the Government is transforming the way Indigenous programs are delivered through the implementation of the IAS. The core areas of focus are:

  • Jobs, Land and Economy
  • Children and Schooling
  • Safety and Wellbeing
  • Culture and Capability
  • Remote Australia Strategies

Unregistered births of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are higher than in the wider community and applications for Birth Certificates are noticeably lower. A grant from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to Pathfinders to tackle this issue will enable more sign up days, cover the costs of birth certificates, and allow more people to fully participate in society and address the areas of focus of the IAS.


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

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

Other aspects of the project:

We continue to advocate and lobby for additional funding and to make the process simpler and more affordable for all Australians. Private and corporate donations are welcome.

ID requirements

Pathfinders recognises that in the absence of a Birth Certificate it may be 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 bring 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
Passport 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


We are experienced in working with people who have difficulty producing the required documentation, so do not be discouraged. Talk to us at our next sign up day or contact Hilton on 04 2772 6559 or Lyn on 02 6788 2123. You can also email Hilton at or Lyn at

Gov Support Logo (2)

Upcoming sign-up days:

New schedule for 2017 will be out soon.

Please click here for our calendar of events to find a sign up day close to you.

Download an NABC Checklist

Download a Birth Certificate Application

Download the priority areas for Birth Certificate Sign Up Days In Queensland

Latest News

08 Sep 2017

Innovative Culture Camp to Revive Traditions for Aboriginal Youth

Listen Not-for-profit and out-of-home care provider, Pathfinders, is set to launch its first ever indigenous Cultural Camp to help Aboriginal youth reconnect with their culture. To be held at The Willows in Glen Innes, New South Wales, during the October school holidays the four day camp is designed to address the loss of transmission of... View Article

30 Jul 2017

Aboriginal Transition to School Program Helping Local Kids

Listen Pathfinders has recently launched the Aboriginal Transition to School Program (ATTS) to provide Aboriginal children between the ages of 3 and 6 years with access to quality pre-school and school education. The program covers Armidale, Inverell, Ashford, Tingha, Uralla and Walcha, with a Learning Circle available in Inverell, Ashford and Tingha. Our Learning Circle... View Article

17 May 2017

Free Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program Coming to Bourke

Listen More than 5,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have obtained a free birth certificate through the Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate (NABC) program, and now, residents of Bourke will have a chance to obtain their own. The NABC program will be attending Law Week in Bourke on the 18th of May from 9am to... View Article

27 Jun 2016

Successful sign up’s at Redfern

Listen Another successful sign up day for the National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program at The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence which was held on Thursday and Friday last week. Over 120 applications for birth certificates were received. Thank you to our volunteers, staff and young people who assisted on the day. Ryan who is in... View Article

23 Jun 2016

Birth Certificate Sign up days in Redfern

Listen A reminder about the Sign Up days in Redfern today and tomorrow. Free Birth Certificate and Free Birth Registration for Aboriginal young people. Sign up day at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Redfern on Thursday 23rd June 10am-3pm and Friday 24th June 10am – 8.30pm. Click here for more information

p. 04 2772 6559


a. 87a Beardy Street, Armidale NSW 2350