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Important news regarding state No Jab No Play & federal No Jab No Pay laws

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This is a long post which contains important new information about state No Jab No Play laws, by jurisdiction, and the federal No Jab No Pay law, in the following order.

Victoria
NSW
Queensland
Other states and territories
No Jab No Pay (federal)

Scroll down for information that is relevant to you.

We have extensively updated all of our vaccine law pages as well as creating some new ones.  A good page to access and share with others is our Vaccine Laws page, because it contains links to all information pages on this topic.

Victoria

As most readers would be aware, the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 was recently amended, with implications for both new and existing enrolments.  A summary of these is provided at (1) to (4) below.

We continue to receive reports of Jill Hennessy’s department behaving badly by providing deliberately incorrect advice to childcare services.  She really is a disgrace to public office.  She has absolutely no respect for the rule of law despite her being a trained lawyer.  A number of children have been denied enrolment on the advice of her department, despite these children being exempt from the vaccination requirement by law, or having an appropriately certified medical exemption.

Parents should not be willing to accept this state of affairs.  If you believe your child is being denied enrolment unlawfully, please contact us, and we will endeavour to assist you.

(1) Enrolment documentation

From 28 February 2018, the only document that can be accepted for the purpose of enrolment in a Victorian early childhood education or childcare service is a vaccination history statement from the federal Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) showing that a child is age-appropriately vaccinated (which includes when a child has a medical exemption), unless a child is exempt from the vaccination requirement (for example the children of those holding a Health Care Card or children of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander descent).

See section on the No Jab No Play (Vic) page called Which documentation is acceptable for enrolment?

(2) Medical Exemptions

From 28 February 2018, the Victorian law is in line with the federal No Jab No Pay law with respect to the certification of medical exemptions.

For information about the specific requirements for obtaining medical exemptions under the federal No Jab No Pay law, and which also meet the requirements for Victoria’s No Jab No Play law, see section on the No Jab No Play (Vic) page called Medical Exemptions.

(3) Periodic Checks for Immunisation Status Certificates

With respect to children already enrolled, the new section 143E, recently inserted into the Victorian law by the Health and Child Wellbeing Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (but not yet in operation), places obligations on parents to periodically produce, and on childcare services to take reasonable steps to periodically request, an immunisation status certificate showing a child is age-appropriately vaccinated, as prescribed by the regulations.

Until the regulations – which will give effect to these periodic checks – are released, it remains uncertain how the periodic checks will affect the existing enrolments of unvaccinated children.  Will unvaccinated children already enrolled really be excluded?  We certainly hope not, but we really don’t know at this stage.

For further information see the section on the No Jab No Play (Vic) page called What are periodic checks for immunisation status certificates?

(4) Children being enrolled under the 16 week grace period

It remains the case that there is no requirement under the Victorian law for parents enrolling their children under the 16 week grace period, to provide an immunisation status certificate within the grace period, however, in anticipation of the periodic immunisation status certificate checks coming into operation in the coming months, we are now recommending that parents who are enrolling their children under the 16 week grace period, should provide the childcare service with an immunisation status certificate, showing which, if any, vaccines their child has received, before the 16 week grace period expires.

For further information about the 16 week grace period, and why parents should now provide their child’s immunisation status certificate during the grace period, see What is the 16 week grace period?

For further information about the Victorian law see No Jab No Play (Vic).


New South Wales

From 01 January 2018, the right to conscientiously object o vaccination for the purpose of enrolment in early childhood education and childcare services in New South Wales, was abolished.  Some key aspects of the law of importance to our community, are outlined at (1) to (4) below.

(1) Enrolment documentation

The New South Wales Ministry of Health advises that from 1 January 2018, parents must provide a copy of one or more of only three documents in order to enrol in an early childhood education or childcare service in NSW:

However, based on provisions in the law with respect to medical exemptions, other forms and letters are also acceptable, and in certain circumstances necessary.

For further information see Which documentation is acceptable for enrolment? on the No Jab No Play (NSW) page.

(2) Medical Exemptions

A child is exempt from the vaccination requirement when an authorised practitioner (which includes both doctors and accredited vaccination nurses) has certified that a child should have an exemption for one or more vaccines due to a medical contraindication to vaccination.

For further information about obtaining a medical exemption for you child see Medical Exemptions (contraindication and natural immunity) on the No Jab No Play (NSW) page.

(3) Periodic requests for updated vaccination status statements

Under section 87 subsection (4) of the Public Health Act NSW and section 43 subsection (2) of the Public Health Regulations, the principal of a child care facility must periodically request that a parent of a child already enrolled, provide an updated vaccination history statement or medical certificate, whenever the child concerned reaches an age designated by the Secretary for a specified vaccine preventable disease, at which age, it is appropriate for a child to be immunised or further immunised against that disease.for that child.

Importantly, children cannot be excluded under these provisions.

For further information see What are periodic requests for updated vaccination status statements? on the No Jab No Play (NSW) page.

(4) Exemptions to the vaccination requirement on the grounds of disadvantage

Under section 87 (3) of the Act, an exemption from the vaccination requirement is available for certain categories of disadvantaged or vulnerable children, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children.  See the following sections on the No Jab No Play (NSW) page.

For further information about the New South Wales law see No Jab No Play (NSW).


Queensland

The Queensland law, which has not changed since it came into operation on 01 January 2016, gives early childhood education and care services the option to not enrol an unvaccinated child, or to cancel the existing enrolment of an unvaccinated child, but does not compel them to do so.

Based on early media reports, most early childhood education and care services in Queensland have not been exercising the option to deny enrolment to or exclude unvaccinated children.  See for example, this article.

Although we have received occasional reports about children being denied enrolment in Queensland due to being unvaccinated, by shopping around, parents have been able to find other services willing to accept their children.

For further information about the Queensland law see No Jab No Play (Qld).


Other states and territories – SA, WA, ACT, NT and Tasmania

There is currently no No Jab No Play legislation in place for SA, WA, ACT, NT and Tasmania.

All is quiet on the western front.  There has been no further public statements by members of the WA government since Health Minister, Roger Cook stated in January that his government intends to enact No Jab No Play legislation.

There is a state election in SA on 17 March 2018.

For information about your obligations with respect to vaccination status documentation when enrolling your child in early childhood education and childcare services in these five states see Other states and territories.


No Jab No Pay (federal)

As No Jab No Pay abolished the right to conscientiously object to vaccination there are very few ways by which a child will be exempted from the vaccination requirement.  However, a favourable decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in early 2017 may make it easier for some parents to obtain a medical exemption for their children, and have it accepted by the Australian Immunisation Register.

If your child qualifies for an exemption under the federal law, they will also qualify for enrolment under the state-based No Jab No Play laws.  If you are in New South Wales, there are additional ways to qualify for a medical exemption in that state, but only for the purpose of enrolment, not for the purpose of eligibility for federal childcare subsidies.

Listed immediately below are links to the current requirements for obtaining medical exemptions under the federal No Jab No Pay law, in order to qualify for Child Care Benefit and Rebate, and Family Tax benefit A supplement.

For further information about the federal law see No Jab No Pay.

If you having trouble getting your child’s exemption approved, please contact us, and we will endeavour to assist you in navigating the process.  Please write Exemption (federal or relevant state) in the subject line so we can direct your query to the most appropriate volunteer.

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