ADA slams Budget

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ADA President Dr Karin Alexander says the budget is "toothless".
ADA President Dr Karin Alexander says the budget is “toothless”.

The Australian Dental Association has announced its “disappointment” over the deafening silence on oral health issues in this week’s Federal Budget. “Having laid groundwork for the delivery of dental care for children in the previous Budget, it is disappointing that this action has not been accompanied by any further investment in the delivery of dental care to deserving groups in the 2013-14 Federal Budget,” the Association said in a statement.

The 2013-14 Federal Budget includes a measure to improve municipal and essential services, including water supplies, for Indigenous communities. The ADA questioned whether this would include fluoridation. Despite the effectiveness of this population health measure, the Department of Health and Ageing deflected responsibility for fluoridation to states and territories rather than lead in this key area. “This is even more puzzling given their proposed investment in the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (Grow Up Smiling- GUS),” the Association added.

The ADA also pointed out that it has been seeking assistance from Government on dental workforce issues such as the introduction of a HECS forgiveness scheme for dentists who agree to work in the public dental system or in rural and remote areas and the provision of tax exempted grants offered under the Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme. Further it asked that Health Workforce Australia extend its study of the oral health workforce to specifically examine the oral health academic workforce. The placement of a cap on the number of Commonwealth Supported Places in dental programmes (dentist and oral health therapy courses) was sought. There were no measures to address these issues.

“In fact the Australian Government’s imposition of a ceiling of only $2000 on self education expenses puts health delivery at risk,” the organization added. “Self education ensures the quality of services professionals provide. The ADA and other professional groups will join to oppose the introduction of this measure.”

The Australian Dental Industry Association is hosting a lunch and briefing by Independent Economics on the impact of the Budget from a dental perspective.

If you’re keen to go along, tickets are available here.

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