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article imageAustralia to deny welfare to parents who don't vaccinate kids

By Michael Thomas     Apr 14, 2015 in Health
The Australian government has announced parents won't receive welfare or childcare payments if they don't vaccinate their children.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Service Minister Scott Morrison announced the plan Sunday, succinctly titled the "no jab, no pay" policy. Simply put, the policy means parents won't get welfare or childcare benefits from January 2016 if they haven't vaccinated their kids.
This policy will strike out the "conscientious objection" provision when parents apply for welfare. This means parents won't receive money for the Child Care Rebate, Child Care Benefit and Family Tax Benefit Part A. An estimate says this change can save the Australian government $50 million a year.
Though income level determines how much money families get, these benefits can cost up to $15,000 per child per year:
  • Child Care Benefit: Maximum $250 a week
  • Child Care Rebate: Maximum $7,500 annually
  • Family Tax Benefit: Maximum $177 a week
  • Annual tax rebate (If family is eligible): $726
Morrisson's press release explaining the policy doesn't mince words: "Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to child care 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."
However, some parents will still be able to able to receive vaccination exemptions if they're a member of a "very small religious sect" Morrisson won't name, for fears that parents will join the religion to get the exemption.
Last month, a four-month-old baby in Western Australia died of whooping cough, prompting nationwide attention when the child's mother called for parents to vaccinate their kids.
Australia is just the latest body to crack down on "anti-vaxxers." California's lawmakers last week passed a bill that would require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated. The bill still needs to be passed in legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
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