No jab, no pay: Childcare benefits to be tied to vaccinations

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The federal government plans to withhold childcare benefits and welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, it's been reported.

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will be denied up to $15,000 a year in childcare rebates and welfare under new federal government rules, it's been reported.

Bipartisan political support for the change means a conscientious objector loophole will be closed to protect children, News Corp reports.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison are set to announce the reform on Sunday, with the changes to come into effect from next year.

It will mean parents who fail to immunise their children will no longer be paid the $200-a-week childcare benefit, the $7500-a-year childcare rebate or the $726 Family Tax Benefit A annual supplement.

News Corp quoted Mr Abbott as saying that parents should be able to take their vaccinated children to childcare without the risk of them contracting a serious or life-threatening illness "because of the conscientious objections of others".

Mr Morrison said exemptions on medical or religious grounds will continue but parents must be affiliated with a religious group whose governing body has registered an objection approved by the government.

Fairfax Media is reporting parents of around 39,000 have signed the 'conscientious objection' forms to declare personal, philisophical, religious or medical objections to immunising their children. Although not all of the 39,000 would necessarily have been entitled to the payment.

'No jab, no pay'

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the policy in a statement published in The Sunday Telegraph where he acknowledged the campaign the paper has run on the issue of anti-vaccination of children - titled 'no jab, no play'.

"Today I am pleased to announce the government will be introducing a new “no jab, no play and no pay” policy for childcare support."

Speaking to media on Sunday Mr Abbott said only those with strict religious or medical grounds would be exempt from the new policy.

Source AAP

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