The Queensland Greens will move amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Bill 2022 this week to scrap fees for accessing and updating key identity documents like a birth certificate.
Greens MP Michael Berkman:
“Lack of accurate documentation prevents people from enrolling in school, getting a driver’s license, getting a job, opening a bank account, and applying for housing.
“Our amendments will ensure no one faces financial or bureaucratic barriers to accessing and updating documents that are essential to participating in public life.
“At a time when Queenslanders are already struggling with rising costs of living and financial stress, this is just one way we can make sure our most vulnerable don’t fall further behind.
“Two years ago I proudly sponsored a petition to parliament by a local resident Esther Vale, calling to change our documentation laws to better recognise trans and gender diverse people.
“This bill represents an historic win for the LGBTQ+ community, after decades fighting to allow gay, intersex, transgender, and gender-queer people greater control over their personal documentation and identification.
“I’m asking the Government to ensure these historic reforms are accessible to all, by supporting the Greens amendments to remove documentation fees.”
In 2021, Michael Berkman sponsored a Parliamentary Petition by Esther Vale that read:
“People should have the right to legally register as they self-identify. This means removing the requirement for a person to undergo sex reassignment surgery to change the sex listed on their birth certificate. The sex marker should also be changed without 'annotation', as there is no reason for these documents to out people.” It also noted that “the cost of making a change to one's birth certificate… functions as a prohibitive 'trans tax'”.
In its response to Esther’s petition, the Government committed to update the Births, Deaths & Marriages Registry Act. The Government’s Bill gives LGBTQIA+ people more options to update their name and gender marker on personal documentation like a birth certificate.
The Government’s bill codifies existing conventions around fee waivers, on a case-by-case basis only. The Greens amendments to be moved this week would prohibit the charging of documentation services fees for all essential life event certificates.