NSW passes Vaccination Childcare Laws

NSW passes Vaccination Childcare Laws

By Adam Murray

 

NSW State Parliament has passed legislation to stop unvaccinated children attending childcare centres in the state which will begin from January 1, 2018.

On Wednesday night, NSW parliament passed a Bill to amend the Public Health Act to introduce stronger requirements for families enrolling children into early childhood education and care centres.

Directors of childcare centres who fail to comply and those who forge or falsify vaccinations certificates will be committing an offence under the amended law and face fines of up to $5500.

 

The amendment removes the conscientious exemption and now aligns with the Australian Government’s ‘No Jab, No Pay’ measure, under which certain child care and family tax benefits are dependent on a child being vaccinated or will see welfare payments docked by $28 fortnightly.

 

Children on a recognised catch-up vaccination schedule or those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will still be allowed to enrol, and public health officers are also now able to exclude unvaccinated children from high schools, when there is a disease outbreak.

NSW State Health Minister Brad Hazzard released a statement regarding the state’s Public Health Act amendment, and said the new rules will help cut the risk of children contracting potentially deadly diseases such as whooping cough and meningococcal.

“All it takes is one unvaccinated child and dozens of others could be put at risk of serious illness, so we are being very clear that choices of conscientious objectors, which are not evidence based, will no longer be allowed to impact other families,” said Mr Hazzard.

The new rules will only apply to newly enrolled children from January 1.

Earlier in March, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote to state and territory leaders requesting a uniform approach to amendments to Public Health and childcare

NSW now joins fellow states Queensland and Victoria to coincide with the ‘No Jab, No Play’ policy.

The NSW Health Minister in his statement on Thursday however was quick to state his government has done more than other state government’s on the immunisation issue.

“We have spent more than any other state government to protect our community through vaccination because the overwhelming scientific evidence is that vaccination is safe and highly effective in preventing disease” said Hazzard

The changes have been made to strengthen vaccination enrolment requirements in child care in particular to reinforce  the overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is safe and highly effective in preventing disease and to send a strong public health message about the importance of vaccination.

Over 93 per cent of children in NSW are fully vaccinated at one and five years of age with 1.15 per cent of children between zero and seven years old having parents who registered as conscientious objectors.

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earche04
earche04 29 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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