Media Release: Pilot Program makes it easier to register newborns with Medicare and Centrelink

New parents in the ACT are gaining back precious time to focus on the first moments with their newborns thanks to a joint Federal and Territory Government pilot program reducing administrative burden on families.

Close to 1200 Canberra families have benefited from the program, which enables newborns to be registered for multiple government services in a more streamlined way before they leave hospital.

The pilot program, jointly delivered by the ACT and Federal Government at Canberra’s Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, streamlines newborn registration for territory and federal government services, including Medicare.

Minister for Government Services, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said new parents already have enough on their plate without having to fill out a never ending number of application forms.

“These improvements will significantly reduce the administrative burden placed on new parents,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The pilot builds on similar trials in hospitals in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia and will continue to grow in 2022.

“It’s been fantastic to see ACT families benefit from this program, which enables the exchange of information from the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children to Services Australia.

“Parents who opt in simply provide their details once to the hospital, which shares this information with Services Australia to enrol their newborn with Medicare.

“The pilot process speeds up Medicare enrolment so newborns are often registered in around 24-48 hours, meaning it’s often sorted shortly after families leave hospital. This is much faster than it may otherwise take.

“From this week, Centrelink services are also being offered as part of the pilot to streamline family assistance claims. Birth registration with ACT Births, Deaths and Marriages will also be included towards the end of the year.”

ACT Special Minister of State, Chris Steel said thousands more parents in the ACT could benefit from the program.

“Every year there are approximately 6,000 births in the ACT. Normally new parents need to complete up to three separate forms and have several interactions with different government agencies to register their child for various services,” Minister Steel said. 

“We’d like to only collect this information from parents once, and only ask them to provide information that governments don’t already have, such as the baby’s name.”

Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja said the time saving for new parents was part of the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to cutting red tape for families, giving more Canberra parents more time to focus on their newborns.

“This measure reduces paperwork and gives parents much quicker access to their newborn’s new Medicare details, making things simpler if they need to claim Medicare benefits,” Senator Seselja said.

“As a father of five, I know firsthand how much of a difference this will make for Canberra families, especially at such a busy time in their lives.”

ACT Minister for Health and Minister for Families and Community Services, Rachel Stephen-Smith said a new baby is a huge life change.

“We’re committed to supporting families through pregnancy and birth, and to making things a little easier in the challenging early days and years of parenthood,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

[ENDS]

 

Senator The Hon Linda Reynolds CSC 
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme 
Minister for Government Services

Chris Steel MLA
Member for Murrumbidgee 
Special Minister of State in the ACT Government

Senator The Hon Zed Seselja 
Senator for the ACT

Rachel Stephen-Smith 
ACT Minister for Health and Minister for Families and Community Services