New South Wales has become the first state to introduce digital birth certificates.

A new project, spearheaded by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, aims to streamline identity verification processes and enhance security, particularly for residents in disaster-prone areas.

Over 18,000 children enrolled or about to enrol in KU, Affinity Education, or TAFE NSW early childhood education centres are eligible for the digital birth certificate (DBC) pilot. 

This digital option will hold the same legal standing as traditional paper documents and is expected to simplify processes like junior sports registration, student identifier number acquisitions, and loan applications.

Theresa Fairman, Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, says digital and paper certificates should complement each other. 

“Digital birth certificates will sit alongside the paper certificate, but provide customers with another option when they need to present this document,” she said. 

Fairman further noted that the government has legally ensured its equivalence to the paper version to encourage acceptance and integration into wider government and business operations.

The DBC initiative aligns with the NSW government's broader digital identity strategy. 

Since 2017, the state has sought to enhance digital identification, seeing significant public uptake of various digital licences and permits. 

The digital birth certificate incorporates advanced security features akin to those in digital driver’s licences, such as holograms, timestamps, and identity proofing, housed within the standalone 'DBC' app.

In addition to general access, the pilot phase includes about 100 Vision Australia members who will assess its accessibility features, ensuring the product is usable by those who are blind or have low vision. 

The app supports large text, voice-over, and external keyboard compatibility across iOS and Android devices.