Health Minister Greg Hunt and Minister for Social Services Christian Porter have announced the strengthening of the Government’s “No Jab, No Pay” policy
“The Turnbull Government believes there is no excuse for parents who, without a valid medical reason, choose not to immunise their children,” the ministers said in a joint statement released on Monday.
“These parents are not only putting their own children’s health at risk, but the health of every other person’s children at risk too.
“That is why the Government will strengthen its No Jab, No Pay policy to provide an immediate incentive for parents to meet immunisation requirements for their children.”
The policy will see the fortnightly Family Tax Benefit Part A payment reduced by $28 per fortnight for each child who does not meet the immunisation requirements, starting 1 July 2018.
“This change will ensure parents understand how important the Government views immunisation and protecting community health,” the Ministers say.
“Reducing fortnightly payments, rather than withholding the supplement at the end of the year as occurs at present, will serve as yet another constant reminder for parents to have their children’s immunisation requirements are up to date.”
The move builds on the existing No Jab, No Pay policy, which began in January 2016. Since then more than 210,000 families have “taken action” to ensure they meet the requirements, the Ministers say.
This has increased immunisation rates across all three target groups of one, two and five-year-olds.
From December 2015 to March 2017, the immunisation rate for one year olds increased 1.35 percentage points to 93.63%; the coverage rate for two year olds rose 1.75 percentage points to 90.06%; and, the rate for five year olds increased 0.73 percentage points to 93.32%.
Indigenous immunisation rates have also increased across all relevant age cohorts.
Under the No Jab, No Pay policy, children must be fully immunised, have a valid exemption or be on a valid catch-up schedule if parents are to continue receiving child care payments, and with the new No Jab, No Pay measure, their full Family Tax Benefit Part A fortnightly payment.