QUEENSLAND childcare centres will be able to refuse enrolment to children who are not immunised under proposed laws.
Health Minister Cameron Dick introduced laws to parliament on Wednesday night that would legally protect childcare centres that refused enrolment, but still allows centres to accept children who aren’t vaccinated.
Mr Dick said with contagious but preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles still affecting children, it was time to do more.
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“Every year, there are tragic cases that highlight the importance of ensuring everyone in your family is fully immunised,” he said in a statement.
“Conditions like whooping cough, while usually mild for adults, can have tragic consequences for very young children.
“We want to empower childcare centres to talk to parents about their child’s immunisation needs and encourage families to vaccinate.
“This bill gives power to those local childcare centres to make those decisions.”
Queensland’s immunisation rates for children sat at 92 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, short of the 95 per cent recommended for strong “herd immunity”.
The LNP Government launched an immunisation strategy during its term in government to educate parents about the importance of vaccinations, but stopped short of a childcare ban.
Those who choose to reject enrolments based on immunisation status will be legally protected, but directors will have the discretion to leave its enrolment policy where it currently is.
Mr Dick will introduce the bill during the Wednesday sitting, with the aim of having it installed as law by January 2016.