Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
By Stephanie Peatling
Parents who are “conscientious objectors” to childhood vaccination will have their childcare and family tax payments stopped from 1 January next year as the federal government attempts to crack down on the anti-vaccination movement.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday a loophole would be closed to stop payments to parents worth up to $15,000 per child.
“Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to childcare without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others,” Mr Abbott said.
Although Australia’s overall childhood vaccination rates remain high – about 97 per cent – the numbers of people who are registered conscientious objectors has risen in the past 10 years.
There are now 39,000 children aged under seven who are not vaccinated because their parents are registered, according to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.
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