NSW Labor will today (Tuesday April 4) introduce legislation into the NSW Parliament to ban the setting up of specialist anti-vaccination child care centres in NSW – to plug a current legal loophole.
Under the legislation, the bill will remove the so-called “conscientious objector clause”, however, it will retain a specialist provision for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition such as cancer treatment.
Furthermore, the bill carries a maximum penalty of $5,500 for a principal or operator of a service enrolling a child without a vaccination certificate or a certificate exempting them on medical grounds.
If passed, it will be the toughest laws in Australia.
The overview of the Bill states: “The object of this Bill is to amend the Public Health Act 2010 to prevent unvaccinated children being enrolled at child care facilities, if the only reason that they are unvaccinated is a parent’s conscientious beliefs”.
Labor’s legislation will also cover family day care operations.
In Australia, we need to have a ‘herd’ immunity in the high 90s per cent so that we can provide a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord
“Make no mistake, vaccinations have saved millions of lives in the developed and developing world.
“Sadly, some parts of NSW have immunisation rate levels well below acceptable levels to provide protection for young children against major disease outbreaks.
“We have to find ways to increase vaccination rates and if it requires plugging loopholes like moves to set up anti-vaccination centres, then we have a responsibility to do so.”
Quotes attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
“As mums and dads know, leaving your baby in childcare is a fraught and difficult decision, but it’s often a choice we have no other option than to take.
“Parents want to know their kids will be safe and healthy when they leave their kids in day-care.
“We have to take a common sense approach when it comes to protecting the health of our kids and I know inner west parents will join me in welcoming this announcement.
“There are kids who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons and the choice of so-called conscientious objectors to not vaccinate their kids puts these vulnerable lives at risk.”