Words by: Freya Hall
Since the Childhood Immunisation Register was established in 1996 vaccine objection rates for children under the age of seven have been increasing steadily, especially under the ‘conscientious objector’ category.
However, from January 1, 2016 ‘conscientious objection’ will be removed as an exemption category from the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate, and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement.
This means that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children won’t receive taxpayer funded childcare welfare benefits.
Exemptions on medical or religious grounds will continue. However, religious exemption will only be permitted where the governing body of the parent’s religious group has a formally registered objection approved by the Government.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the vaccination reforms in a statement published in today’s Sunday Telegraph:
“Today I am pleased to announce the government will be introducing a new ‘no jab, no play and no pay’ policy for childcare support.”
The new policy seeks to tighten the rules, protect public health, and reinforce the importance of immunisation, especially for children.