The Australian government has announced new plans to withdraw welfare benefits from families who do not have their children vaccinated.
The Daily Mail reports:
Under the tough new 'no jab, no pay' laws, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has announced on Sunday that parents will no longer be able to access childcare benefits simply by signing a form that says they object to immunisation based on 'personal, philosophical or religious' reasons.
The paper reports that this will amount to families losing up to $15,000 a year for every child once the changes come into effect next year, although Morrison stated that the exemption is "no longer current or necessary" as religious groups are not advising members to avoid vaccinating children.
Currently, parents are entitled to choose not to have their children vaccinated against childhood diseases, but can still claim a childcare rebate, childcare benefit and a family tax benefit.
The move is presumably designed to ensure that parents have their children vaccinated, although critics say it won't necessarily increase take-up of jabs.
Current figures suggest that around 39,000 children under the age of seven are not vaccinated in Australia. Approximately 450 children aged five and under die from measles every day, according to the BBC.
What's your view on the Australian government's plan, and could you ever see the UK following suit? If you choose not to vaccinate your child but would stand to lose child benefit unless you did so, would it change your mind on the matter?
We'd love to hear your thoughts.
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