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Immunisation mandatory for family tax payment
LEGISLATION aimed at increasing immunisation rates for children has cleared federal parliament.
From 1 July, parents will need to have their children fully immunised to receive the Family Tax Benefit, Part A Supplement, after the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 passed the Senate yesterday.
There will be a new immunisation check for one-year-olds in addition to the existing immunisation checks at two and five years of age.
For the first time, children will need to be vaccinated against meningococcal C, pneumococcal and chicken pox.
They will also be immunised against measles, mumps and rubella earlier, at 18 months instead of the current four years of age.
Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said she supported efforts to increase immunisation rates but not penalising parents who did not immunise their children.
"Any measures by the government to link immunisation to payments must also contain sufficient protections for a parent's right to choice," she said.
From discussions with parents, she believed those who chose not to have their children immunised did not make the decision lightly.
The Family Tax Benefit supplement is worth $726 per child each year.
UPDATE 2.15pm 11 May: As is the case with the previous general practice immunisation incentive scheme, children can receive an exemption from the immunisation requirements if a recognised immunisation provider indicates the parent has a conscientious objection to immunising their child.