Parents in Australia face losing childcare payments if they object to inoculations

The Australian government is to cut child support funding to parents who refuse vaccination for their infants

Parents in Australia who do not allow their children to be inoculated against preventable diseases will have their child support payments cut under plans unveiled by prime minister Tony Abbott.

He announced the measures as part of the government’s ‘No jab, no play. No jab, no pay’ policy.

From January 2016, conscientious objection will be removed as an exemption category for childcare payments. 

‘The new policy will tighten up the rules and reinforce the importance of immunisation and protecting public health, especially for children,’ said Mr Abbott.

Australia has vaccination rates exceeding 90% for children between the ages of one and five, but more than 39,000 children aged under seven are not vaccinated because of their parents' objections. This is an increase of more than 24,000 children over a decade, according to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

Mr Abbott said: ‘The government is extremely concerned at the risk this poses to other young children and the broader community. The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of childcare payments.’

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