Privacy and Disclosure of Information: Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

The collection of information is authorised by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998. This information is used for registering life events occurring in Western Australia and issuing certificates.

Access to certificates is only approved in accordance with the Registry's Certificate Access and Identification policies. General information regarding these policies is available from the:

Certificate Access Policy


Evidence-of-Identity Requirements

Registry legislation also allows the Registrar to release information to approved agencies for statistical purposes, medical research, community planning, law enforcement and other uses provided for by law.

A copy of the Department's policy framework regarding information sharing is available at Information Sharing Between Government Agencies (PDF).

Information Management Principles

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The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Registry) collects a wide range of personal information to register births, deaths, marriages and changes of name occurring in Western Australia. The collection of this information is mandated by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act.

Birth, death, marriage and change of name certificates are available from the Registry to eligible people.

These certificates are generally used for evidence-of-identity and enrolment purposes including Centrelink benefits, passports, driver's licence, school, banking and marriage.

Registry information is also available to assist a range of organisations to make informed decisions for community planning, statistical, public health and medical research and law enforcement.

The Registry understands the importance of managing personal information responsibly and has developed a series of good practice principles for managing personal information.

Collection of information

Information collected by the Registry has varied over time. To be relevant, Registry information must stay abreast with community expectations and the information needs of organisations using certificates for evidence-of-identity and enrolment purposes.

Additionally, the Registry works collaboratively with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to review information to best provide quality data for statistical, community planning and medical research purposes.

To help protect the privacy of personal information not all data collected for registration purposes is printed on certificates (for example contact and address details).

Use and disclosure (access) to information

The use of Registry information is also mandated by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. Decisions whether Registry information will be released include:

  • the nature of the applicant's interest in the certificate
  • the sensitivity of the information
  • the use to be made of the information and
  • the responsibility of the Registrar to "as far as practicable" to protect the privacy of the persons to whom the entry in the register relates from unjustified intrusion on their privacy.

Refer to the Conditions of access to Registry certificates above.

Data sharing arrangements with organisations such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs, Veterans' Affairs are clearly documented in data sharing agreements.

Other organisations such as Centrelink and the Australian Electoral Commission etc have mandated authority to request Registry information. Any information provided to these organisations must abide by strict security protocols and cannot generally be provided to other parties unless mandated by other legislation.

Accuracy and correction of information

The Registry recognises that the information it collects is an asset and that incomplete or inaccurate records diminish the value of these important records for the individual and research organisations.

Significant resources are allocated to the collection and storage of accurate and complete registration information. The Registry works collaboratively with key interest groups, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Funeral Directors and Marriage Celebrants and the public in a more general sense to record accurate and complete registration information.

Targeted programs ensure regional and remote indigenous people have access to a wide range of services to register their birth and obtain certificates for evidence-of-identity purposes.

There are a number of reasons why Registry information may need to be corrected or completed. This may arise due to the inadvertent provision of information by parents of children, Funeral Directors or Marriage Celebrants or conversely through transcription errors during the registration process.

The Registry has comprehensive processes in place to correct or complete previously incomplete registration information. Further information regarding our correction procedures is available on the Correct a Certificate page.

Storage and security of information and providing information to third parties

The Registry takes its responsibility as a data custodian very seriously and has clearly documented policies and procedures regarding access to and the release of private and confidential registration information.

Comprehensive Information Communication Technology security controls are in place to minimise the risk of improper or fraudulent access and use of Registry information including a closed system network.

Data provided to third parties is through password protected and encrypted data exchange protocols. Third party data recipients also sign data exchange and confidentiality agreements and must commit to managing Registry data securely.

Page reviewed 15 October 2020