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Turnbull Cuts Leave Victorian Public Dental Care In Decay

05 December 2016

More than 60,000 disadvantaged Victorians are in danger of missing out on urgent public dental treatment as a result of more health cuts from the Turnbull Government.

Earlier this year the Turnbull Government signalled it would pull the plug on a funding partnership with the states and replace it with a new cost-cutting scheme – but with the old agreements due to expire in less than a month there is no sign of any replacement, meaning Victoria’s public dental care and local jobs are now at risk.

The Andrews Labor Government is calling on the Turnbull Government to fix the nation’s dental funding crisis now before thousands of Victorians are left unable to access the vital dental care they need.

If this agreement is not sorted immediately, Victoria’s public dental service is set to lose about $30 million for the rest the financial year, and a further $60 million in 2017/18.

In the six months to June 2017 that will mean a loss of around 34 jobs and about 66,000 public dental patients missing out on urgent treatment.

People living in regional and rural communities will be hardest hit, with more than half of public dental agencies located in regional Victoria.

The current funding arrangement, put in place by the former Federal Labor Government, ends on 31 December, yet changes to establish any new arrangements are not in place due to the Turnbull Government’s inaction.

The Turnbull Government must extend the current funding arrangement for a further six months, so a better funding arrangement can be negotiated for all States and Territories.

Unlike the Turnbull Government, which is ripping money out of dental care, the Andrews Labor Government is investing more than $206 million in Victoria’s public dental system in 2016/17.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“The Turnbull Government has promised a new dental program which will in effect cut funding for Victoria – but the current agreement is set to expire and thousands of Victorians will be left with nothing.”

“Up to 66,000 disadvantaged Victorians will soon be unable to access dental care and treatment as a result of the Turnbull Government’s ineptitude and bungling.”

“I call on Malcolm Turnbull to move beyond his cuts to dental and enter into meaningful negotiations to make sure vulnerable Victorians don’t miss out on vital dental treatment.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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