The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (the Act) requires the Registrar to protect the privacy of the people to whom its records relate. In addition, the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 contain provisions requiring the protection of an individual's privacy.
Section 47 of the Act requires that the Registrar maintain an access policy outlining the conditions under which individuals and organisations may access Registry records.
Answers to commonly asked questions can be found in Understanding the Access policy.
Restrictions to access
Under the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages' Access Policy, the following restrictions apply:
- Birth and change of name records are restricted from public access for 100 years or until the person has passed away, whichever is the later
- Marriage records are restricted from public access for 60 years or until both parties to the marriage have passed away, whichever is the later
- Death records are restricted from public access for 10 years.
The Access policy also indicates who may access restricted records and the Registry's requirements for access to be granted.
The Registrar may reject an application for access to a record if the applicant does not meet the requirements of the Access policy.
Review of the Registrar's decision
A person whose interests are affected by a decision of the Registrar under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 or the Relationships Act 2008 may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of the decision.
An application for review must be made to VCAT within 28 days of:
- The day on which the decision is made
- The day on which the statement of reasons is given to the person or the person is informed under section 46(5) of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) that a statement of reasons will not be given.
Contents of the Access policy
The Access policy consists of the following sections:
It includes sections on access by:
- The registered person
- An applicant who has consent from the registered person
- Parents of the registered person
- Children of the registered person
- Next of kin
- Legal practitioners record access
- Domestic partners and ex-spouses
- Consulates and foreign governments
- Public trustees
- Search agents
- Welfare agencies
- Administrators, legal guardians and powers of attorney
- Australian government agencies and departments
- Law enforcement agencies
- Funeral directors record access
- Medical researchers
- Historical researchers
- Data cleansing
- Financial institutions
- Primary carers of the registered person