National News

NSW passes childcare vaccination law

Unvaccinated children will be banned from NSW childcare facilities from January after state parliament passed legislation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote to state and territory leaders in March requesting a uniform approach.

The NSW legislation, which passed on Wednesday night and scraps the "conscientious objector" option, means directors of childcare centres will face a fine up to $5500 if they break the rules.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the majority of the NSW community has achieved "outstanding" vaccination rates.

"However, all it takes is one unvaccinated child and dozens of others could be put at risk of serious illness," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"We are being very clear that choices of conscientious objectors, which are not evidence-based, will no longer be allowed to impact other families."

The rules will not apply to children on a recognised catch-up vaccination schedule and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Figures released in June revealed the NSW north coast's vaccination rate trailed the rest of the nation.

There, 1867 children aged five or under were not fully immunised, compared with 721 children in western NSW and 481 in Murrumbidgee in the state's southwest, according to 2015/16 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data.

The federal government is also ramping up its "no jab, no pay" policy, with legislation introduced to parliament on Thursday to dock welfare payments by $28 a fortnight for parents whose children do not meet immunisation rules.

© AAP 2017

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