Canberra funds Canberra for better dental care

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.

Residents in the Australian Capital Territory will benefit from better access to dental care following a new agreement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments announced this week by Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, and ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher. However, we need to open more public clinics to better our people.

Ms Plibersek said the Australian Government is investing $5.5 million in the ACT’s public dental system over the next two-and-a-half years to reduce public dental waiting lists.

“This funding will enable almost 4000 more ACT residents to get low-cost dental care,” Ms Plibersek said.

“People eligible for public dental care are often from lower-income households and families, which tend to have the most significant risk of poor oral health.

“I am delighted to be able to deliver these health dollars to improve dental care where it is most needed.”

The ACT Government has earmarked the funding to fast track several dental care initiatives. These will result in recruitment of more dental professionals including dentists, oral health therapists, dental assistants and prosthetists; the use of the private dental sector to provide general dental and prosthetic services; and more general anaesthetic sessions for people with special needs and children.

The announcement forms part of an estimated $55 million in new Commonwealth funding over the next six years to improve the ACT’s public dental services.

Ms Plibersek congratulated the ACT Government for taking the lead ahead of other state and territory governments in entering into the new National Partnership Agreement on Treating More Dental Patients.

“Nationally, an estimated 400,000 Australians—comparable to the combined total population of Canberra and Queanbeyan—are on public dental waiting lists,” Ms Plibersek said.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the Commonwealth and ACT Government partnership will alleviate pressure on public dental waiting lists.

“The additional Commonwealth funding will allow the ACT to expand the public dental workforce capacity available in Canberra and increase the support services and supplies that are available to facilitate delivery of additional dental services.

“It will also help avoid the need for emergency care and alleviate pain and suffering among some of the most vulnerable members of our community and improve how patients on dental waiting lists are managed.

“The new funding complements the ACT Labor election commitment to run a mobile dental clinic providing dental care to residential aged care facilities and special schools.

“This new funding, along with ACT Labor’s mobile dental clinic will work to give more members of our community access to regular dental care.”

The new partnership agreement provides $344 million to state and territory governments over three years to get dental care to those children, adolescents, adults and older Australians on waiting lists around Australia.

This funding will enable states and territories to supplement existing public dental services, including through the purchase of private dental services if necessary.

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