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Parents who “conscientiously object” to vaccinating their children may lose their ability to claim up to $2100 in benefits such as Family Tax Benefit A and assistance for childcare.
Under the national immunisation program, all parents are required to vaccinate their children in order to access the payments, but currently there are exemptions available.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government’s plans to review the loophole which allows parents who object to immunisation on personal, philosophical, medical or religious grounds to access the payments.
With around 39,000 parents having signed conscientious objection papers, scrapping the provision is expected to save the government $50 million a year.
An official announcement is expected in the May budget.
The move follows the tragic death of Riley Hughes from whooping cough, which sparked fresh concerns about the consequences of Australia’s declining immunisation rates.