|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Prior to the establishment of the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in 1986, effective responsibility for the registration of births, deaths and marriages was held by the Assistant Government Statist (Chief Registration Officer), although legislative responsibility was held by the Government Statist. In 1983, the Government Statist and Actuary (VA 989) was transferred to the Department of Management and Budget (VA 1022) but operational responsibility for births, deaths and marriages remained with the Department of Property and Services (VA 430).
With the proclamation of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Amendment) Act 1985 (No. 10244) on 31 October 1986, legislative responsibility was transferred to the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages was formally established. Services in relation to marriage are undertaken under delegation from the Federal Government pursuant to the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961, and include a register of ministers and celebrants authorised to conduct marriage ceremonies, as well as powers in relation to the marriage of minors.
At its establishment, the Registry was part of the Department of Property and Services (VA 430). Administration of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1959 was undertaken by the Minister for Property and Services (VRG 69). When the Department of Property and Services was abolished in 1991, the Registry was transferred to the Attorney-General's Department (VA 2825), and the Act was administered by the Attorney-General.
Following the election of the Kennett Government in 1992, the Attorney-General's Department was abolished. Under Administrative Arrangements No. 114, all functions of this department were transferred to the Department of Justice (VA 3085), including the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This transfer was published in the Victorian Government Gazette No. S 53, on 9 October 1992.
On 26 November 1996, the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (43/1996) was proclaimed. This Act repealed the earlier Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1959. The new Act updated the regulations regarding registration of births, deaths, marriages and adoptions in Victoria.
The Registry remained in the Department of Justice, reporting to the Attorney-General, until 2002. Following the re-election of the Bracks Government in December 2002, the Registry was transferred to the Department of Victorian Communities (VA 4562) under Administrative Arrangements Order No. 183 (Victorian Government Gazette No S 252, 30 December 2002). The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 was assigned to the Minister for Victorian Communities. However, following the 2006 state election, the Registry was moved back into the Department of Justice (VA 3085) and became the responsibility of the Attorney-General. This was published in the Victorian Government Gazette No S 317, on 5 December 2006, as part of Administrative Arrangements Order 192.
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages maintains records of all births, deaths, marriages, stillbirths, adoptions, legitimations and instruments of paternity which have occurred in Victoria since 1853. It now also has responsibility for the early Church Records form 1837 - 1853 which are the only source of births and deaths information for that period.
The Registry must also provide certificates for births, deaths, marriages and adoptions of people in Victoria; provide a legal basis for people who were born or reside in Victoria to change their name; collect and disseminate statistical data for government and other organisations; and perform civil marriages.
History of Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration
Compulsory registration was first introduced in 1853 (see the Act 16 Vic., No.26). The administration of the function has been the responsibility of the following Groups and Agencies:
VRG Colonial Secretary (to 1855) VRG 26 Chief Secretary (to 1869)
VA 2889 Registrar-General's Department
VRG 19 Law (to 1893)
VA 862 Office of the Registrar-General and the Office of Titles
VRG 26 Chief Secretary (to 1979) VRG 69 Property and Services (from 1979)
VA 989 Office of Government Statist and Actuary.