UNITINGCARE Australia has welcomed the joint announcement today from the federal government and the Australian Greens that promises to deliver dental care to disadvantaged adults and to children from low-income families.
National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said today's announcement is a well-targeted measure that addresses a big gap in Australia's social service system.
"Today's announcement demonstrates we can overcome social and economic disadvantage if governments work across the parliament and across jurisdictions," Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
"Dental health is central to a decent life. All Australians should rightly expect to be free of pain and discomfort.
"Good dental health and access to dental care, along with access to quality health and education are a platform for wellbeing for children in low-income households.
"The stigma and exclusion caused by poverty has been compounded by poor dental health.
"Today's announcement will not only ensure dental treatment, but also put in place access to preventive measures for some of our most disadvantaged citizens," Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
Under the new arrangements:
- Around 3.4 million Australian children will be eligible for Medicare-funded dental care.
- Adults on low incomes, pensioners, other concession card holders, and those with special needs will have better access to dental health care.
- Dental services – both in terms of capital and workforce – will also be expanded for people living in outer metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.
- Children aged up to 17 years from families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A will be eligible for subsidised dental treatment, capped at $1000 per child over a two-year period.
- Dental infrastructure will be funded to ensure people living in rural and regional Australia will have better access to dental care.
- Australia is a significant step closer to building a national oral health system.
Photo : UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds