Maternity Immunisation Allowance - eligibility change
Maternity Immunisation Allowance (MIA) is currently paid for immunised children (or those for whom an approved exemption has been obtained) when a child is aged between 18 months and 24 months. Under this measure the existing payment will be split equally in half and made in two payments for children who have received the immunisations required for an 18 month old and for a four year old.
MIA is currently a one-off lump sum payment of $236.70 paid for children immunised to the level recommended for an 18 month old child. The payment must be claimed on or before the child's second birthday and is not means tested. The payment provides an incentive to encourage parents to vaccinate their children before the age of two years. The payment is indexed twice a year in March and September.
MIA was paid for around 247,000 children in 2006-07 at a cost of $56.2 million. It is estimated that 38,500 were children of parents who had valid immunisation exemption reasons, including 2,500 children of conscientious objectors.
This measure aims to increase the proportion of four year old children in Australia who are fully immunised.
The existing single lump sum payment provides an incentive for parents to have their children immunised at 18 months but does not provide a similar incentive for children to have their four year old immunisations.
As at 31 December 2007, 93 per cent of children aged 24 months to 27 months were fully immunised. The proportion of older children who are fully immunised is lower, with approximately 88 per cent of children fully immunised at age 6 years.
The measure will commence on 1 January 2009. After this date parents and carers who have children that meet the immunisation requirements for an 18 month old will be paid the first MIA payment ($118.40, indexed) when the child is aged between 18 months and 24 months. The second MIA payment ($118.40, indexed) will be available when children have received their four year old vaccinations (or have an approved exemption) and must be claimed on or before the child's fifth birthday. The payments will be indexed twice a year, and in practice the second instalment payment will be higher than the first due to subsequent indexation.
Parents who have received the full immunisation payment for their children prior to implementation of this measure will not be able to claim the four year old payment.
Total Government Funding
This change is expected to result in net savings of $85.2 million over four years.