On the 1st of January 2016 the Australian Government introduced new immunisation requirements for Family Assistance Payments. The ‘no jab, no pay’ initiative means that only parents of children who are fully immunised or are on a recognised catch-up schedule will be eligible to receive the Child Care Benefit, the Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end of year supplement.
The vaccinations that are required are listed under the National Immunisation Program. The vaccinations are usually administered before the age of five and must be recorded on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. Children with medical contraindications or natural immunity for certain diseases will continue to be exempt from the requirements, however exemptions will no longer apply to reasons based on non-medical grounds.
Families who are eligible to receive Family Assistance Payments and who are not currently in compliance with the National Immunisation Program will be notified by Centrelink. For those who are overdue or not up to date with their vaccines, all states and territories will be offering free catch up vaccines. For children under 10 years of age these will be provided on an on-going basis. For those aged between 10 and 19 years of age these will be provided for a limited time only from the 1st January 2016 to 31st December 2017.
In order to accommodate these changes the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) will be expanding over the coming year. Currently ACIR only holds immunisation records for children up to 7 years of age, however the expansion will now include all ages and will become the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
For further information on these changes you can visit www.immunise.health.gov.au