The Federal Government has announced it will end the one remaining religious exemption on children’s vaccinations for access to family payments.
Parents will no longer be able to continue to access Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement from 1 January 2016, and claim a religious exemption from vaccinating their children, Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison says.
“Over the course of the last week the government has had discussions with the only religious organisation with an approved vaccination exemption, the Church of Christ, Scientist and has formed the view that this exemption, in place since 1998, is no longer current or necessary and will therefore be removed,” Minister Morrison says.
“Having been informed the religion is not advising members to avoid vaccinating their children and following engagement with members, the government no longer sees that the exemption is current and the authorisation for this exemption has been withdrawn.
“Having resolved this outstanding matter the government will not be receiving nor authorising any further vaccination exemption applications from religious organisations.”
Morrison says the only authorised exemption from being required to have children immunised in order to receive benefits is on medical grounds. This will remain the sole ground for exemption under the Coalition Government.
“The Coalition Government last week announced an end to the conscientious objector exemption on children’s vaccination,” he says.
“Eligibility for payments will be dependent on children having met early childhood immunisation requirements.
“Government policy is that children should be immunised. It is good health policy, it is important for the health of our children, for families, for communities particularly if they are going to be put in child care centres and in contact with other children.
“While parents have the right to decide to not vaccinate their children, if they are doing so as a vaccination objector, they are no longer eligible for assistance from the Australian Government.”