Labor is committed to strengthening immunisation rates so all Australian children have the best chance at growing up strong and healthy.
In Government, Labor made important changes to family payments to lift immunisation rates including linking the Family Tax Benefit end of year supplement to immunisation.
Ahead of the 2013 election, Labor committed to further tighten immunisation requirements within the family payment system and we welcome the Government’s support for Labor’s approach.
Labor further welcomes the commitment from religious leaders and organisations to support parents to ensure children are vaccinated.
Labor believes that parents should have the final say in making health decisions about their child. But when it comes to immunisation there is a strong public interest in ensuring children are immunised.
Bill Shorten recently wrote to Tony Abbott urging reform in this important area and offering bi-partisan support to work through these issues with a view to increasing immunisation rates across Australia.
In many cases missed vaccinations are due to oversight rather than a specific objection. The establishment of a national immunisation register of school-based vaccinations will assist all parents to do the right thing by their children.
Labor also supports moves to explore a national immunisation register to enable adults to keep their vaccinations up to date. This policy has been proposed by the family of Riley Hughes, the Perth baby tragically killed by whooping cough.
Labor will work to ensure changes are implemented in a way that increases immunisation rates among vulnerable children and ask the Government work with the child care sector to ensure these children are not inadvertently excluded from early education and care.
Labor recognises the important work Medicare locals were doing to increase immunisation rates in local communities and urge the government to ensure this continues through the new Primary Health Networks.