ADA says Federal Budget fails to fund Australia’s oral health


Hugo Sachs ADAThe unveiling and formal tabling of the Federal Budget tonight by the Turnbull Government has revealed that funding once again will be insufficient to meet the oral health needs of the Australian public.

ADA President Dr Hugo Sachs and Deputy CEO Eithne Irving attended the Treasury and Health Budget lockups respectively, reporting that tonight’s budget delivered no surprises for dentistry. Here’s how things unfolded.

Disappointed with the government’s commitment to oral health, Dr Sachs explained, “We’ve been told what we already know. The portfolio budget statements confirm the increase in the Child Dental Benefits Schedule cap for eligible families from $700 to $1000 which is simply reverting to the original cap amount when the scheme was first introduced – something the ADA had to fight tooth and nail to retain.”

Even this semblance of good news has a rider, with an indication that there will be no increase to CDBS rebates prior to December of 2020 despite the lifting of restrictions on indexation for some Medicare rebates over the next two years. This means as the costs of delivering services increase, rebates will stay the same, putting downward pressure on the extremely high and positive bulk-billing rates of more than 95% since the CDBS was first introduced.

The ADA has welcomed the reinstatement of indexation on DVA fees from July 2018, but remains sceptical as to the long term viability of the scheme unless there is further review of the growing disparity between DVA rebates and the mean fee for services. Rest assured, the ADA will continue to advocate to the Health Minister and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to have this disparity addressed and ensure the long term retention of this vital scheme.

Funding, small business, and other announcements

While the budget is threadbare when it comes to dentistry and oral health, there is some detail that will impact dental practices moving forward:

  • The government will provide $300 million over two years to establish a National Partnership on Regulatory Reform with the States and Territories to remove regulatory restrictions on small business and competition and drive economic performance. This measure is in response to the Harper Competition Policy Review to which the ADA made a submission. Details about what this Partnership will actually achieve will not be known for some time.
  • The government is extending the 2015-16 Budget measure – immediate deductibility threshold for small businesses for another 12 months. This means that dental practices will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets costing less that $20,000 so long as they have been installed or used by 30 June 2018.
  • Assets valued at greater than $20,00 can continue to be depreciated  at 15% in the first income year and 30% each income year thereafter.
  • The Medicare levy will increase by 0.5% from July 2019 to fund the NDIS
  • The health budget lockup papers made no reference to National Partnership Agreements, suggesting agreements with jurisdictions have not yet been reached.
  • If you have an investment property you should be aware that accommodation and travel deductions associated with inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental properties will be removed from July 2017.  It will not prevent investors from claiming deductions in relation to engaging real estate agents for property management services. A second component of this measure is the introduction of limitations on plant and equipment depreciation deductions.
  • Assets valued at greater than $20,000 can continue to be depreciated  at 15% in the first income year and 30% each income year thereafter.

Over the coming days the ADA will be going through the budget papers with a fine-tooth comb and will advise of any other measures that may impact you or your practice.

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  1. The A.D.A. says the budget papers made no reference to the N.P.A on dental and they didn’t know what was happening , yet A.D.I.A. was able to find out that the N.P.A. includes ” $107.8 Mil over 2017-18 and that again in 2018-19 ” as published at

    Once again we dentists need to look to the industry association and not our professional association for meaningful information.


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