Parents who don’t vaccinate their children against disease will lose part of their fortnightly family support payment in a toughening stance on the Government's No Jab, No Pay policy.
From 1 July 2018, Family Tax Benefit Part A payments will be reduced by about $28 a fortnight for each child who does not meet the immunisation requirements after legislation passed the Senate recently.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the new measures will help ensure the safety of all children in the New England.
“We’re incredibly lucky to live in a country like Australia where access to life-saving vaccinations is readily available, but many other nations around the world are not as fortunate,” Mr Joyce said.
“It’s important we get these vaccinations done to keep the New England free of these dangerous but very preventable diseases.”
Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said the change to the No Jab, No Pay policy provided a constant reminder for parents to keep their children’s immunisation up to date.
“Immunisation is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Mr Tehan said.
“Parents who don’t immunise their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”
Since the Coalition Government introduced its No Jab, No Pay policy in 2016, about 246,000 children and their families have taken action to ensure they meet the immunisation requirements.
The Coalition Government provided more than $14 million in last year’s Budget for free, catch-up vaccinations for children, young adults and newly arrived refugees.
It also provided $5.5 million over three years to encourage Australian parents and carers to vaccinate their children.
Exemptions still apply for children who have medical contraindications or natural immunity and have been assessed by a general practitioner.