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Parents who do not vaccinate their children will lose more than $11,000 a year per child in childcare benefits, the Australian government announced today.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed on Monday that the new law, due to take effect in 2016, will remove the ability for parents to opt their children out of vaccinations by stating that they are “conscientious objectors.” By removing government childcare benefits for the parents of unvaccinated children, the government hopes to provide a financial incentive for children to be immunized.
“The choice made by families not to immunize their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments,” Abbott said in a joint statement with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.
“This is essentially a ‘no jab, no pay’ policy from this government.”
Current exemptions based on medical or religious reasons will remain, but Abbott added that religious opt out guidelines would be tightened.
Though Australia currently holds a child immunization rate of more than 90 percent, the government estimates that more than 39,000 children under seven years of age have not been vaccinated due to parental objections.
Justin Scuiletti is the digital video producer at PBS NewsHour.
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