The last piece of the Government puzzle

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.

Over the weekend Victoria became the last state to sign up to the Federal government’s partnership offer to attack public dental waiting lists, which involves funding the state government to the tune of $85.4 million.

”This $85.4 million investment from the Gillard government will help Victorians who are on public dental waiting lists to get the treatment that they need,” federal health minister Tanya Plibersek told The Age newspaper.

”This investment will mean that, in total, Victoria is expected to provide services to 101,342 additional public patients—the same number of people that Dental Health Services Victoria has said were waiting for public general dental care in Victoria at the end of 2011-12. This additional money will mean that people on long public waiting lists will be able to get access to the care they need much sooner.”

The announcement came a day after the tabling of the operational rules of the government’s $2.7 billion dental program Grow Up Smiling. The ADA was quite scathing of the rules, as reported in News Bites last week.

Ms Plibersek said that under Grow Up Smiling, eligible children will have access to dental benefits capped at $1000 over two calendar years.

“This will help pay for basic dental care, such as check-ups, x-rays, fillings and extractions” she said.

“Investment in our children is an investment in the future. We know that poor childhood oral health leads to poor adult oral health. Grow Up Smiling will assist children to maintain their oral health now and provide the foundation for good oral health as they grow.”

She said Grow Up Smiling was part of $4.6 billion of funding the Australian Government was providing over six years for reforms which will improve access to dental services for many children and low-income Australians. 

“I have seen the great work that dental professionals, public and private, are doing to repair young mouths, prevent further harm, and keep them healthy,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Grow Up Smiling will help Australian families with the costs of this dental treatment for their children. I urge the profession to help us make this program a success.”

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