NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra today congratulated Illawarra families – particularly, families in Woonona – for recording the highest vaccination rates for one, two and five year olds in Australia.

Mr Park said: “The Illawarra should be proud; they are leading the nation in protecting the next generation from preventable diseases.”

“Put simply, Illawarra mums and dads are absolute champions.”

Mr Secord said: “This is wonderful news and it is reassuring to see that Wollongong families are standing up to the liars in the anti-vaccination movement.”

Mr Secord and Mr Park were responding to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released today (June 8) on national vaccination rates in 2015-16.

However, Mr Secord renewed his call for the Berejiklian Government to support his tough anti-vaccination legislation, which is set to return to NSW Parliament later this month.

Mr Secord said it was disappointing to see that the North Coast had some of the lowest vaccination rates in NSW for one, two and five year olds in Australia with 89.8 per cent; 87.2 per cent and 90.3 per cent – respectively.

There are also worrying rates on Sydney’s northern beaches.

However, on a positive note, childhood immunisation rates have improved nationally.

Overall, the highest vaccination rate for five year olds by region was in western NSW with 96.1 per cent compared to 90.3 per cent on the North Coast.

The highest vaccination suburb in Australia was Woonona — with 99.5 per cent of its children.

By geographical medical jurisdiction, Dapto-Port Kembla had a rate of 95.5 per cent followed by Kiama-Shellharbour (95 per cent); Shoalhaven (95 per cent); Wollongong (94.1 per cent); and South Coast (91.8 per cent).

Mr Secord has legislation before the NSW Parliament – the Public Health Amendment (Vaccination of Children Attending Childcare Facilities) Bill 2017. It is set to be debated on June 22.

The centre piece of the legislation is the removal of the so-called “conscientious objector” provisions which have been used as a loophole by anti-vaxxers.

The bill will carry a maximum penalty of $5,500 for a principal or operator of a service and a family day care enrolling a child without a vaccination certificate or a certificate exempting them on medical grounds.

However, it will retain a specialist provision for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition such as cancer treatment.

In recent months, there have been reports of patients presenting to NSW hospitals with vaccine preventable diseases like tetanus, whooping cough and measles.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord

“Vaccinations are one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

“Vaccinations have saved millions of lives in the developed and developing world. Mothers in the developing world line-up for hours to protect their children, but we have mothers in Byron and Mullumbimby who put their own children and other children at risk. That is wrong.

“No one has the right to infect their own child or someone else’s child. Failing to vaccinate a child is irresponsible.

“Sadly, we are experiencing the re-appearance of diseases which we believed were eradicated. Measles and whooping cough outbreaks have been reported on the North Coast.