Families on the Southside will be hit hard by Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to axe the Child Dental Benefits Scheme.
Currently the scheme provides eligible children with up to $1,000 in treatment from the dentist of their choice every two years. It has helped over one million Australian kids have their teeth fixed. Many of these kids have never before been able to see a dentist.
A review published by the Turnbull Government’s own Department of Health hailed the Labor initiated scheme as a “success”:
“the Panel noted the success of the CDBS in targeting the oral health of young Australians at an age where preventative measures can be most effective. It supported the right of every child to access dental treatment from both the private and the public sectors.”
“These cuts will have a devastating impact on younger families living on the Southside”, Graham Perrett, the Member for Moreton said. “Nearly 9000 families in Moreton who were eligible for this scheme have now been denied access to affordable dental care. Sadly, many of these families had never before been able to afford to send their kids to a dentist.”
The Turnbull Government has tried to hide the cut behind a smoke-screen announcement of a new, less generous scheme. Tellingly, the Australian Dental Association strongly denounced the LNP response as a “smoke and mirrors” trick. Similarly, the National Oral Health Alliance says “the federal Government is walking away from providing direct funding for dental care”.
The Government has itself now admitted that scrapping the Child Dental Benefits Scheme will cut $1 billion out of government spending on dental care.
“A spokesman for Ms Ley confirmed the $1 billion cut.”
The Turnbull Government is trying to push millions of kids onto already overcrowded waiting lists for public dental services, where people are already waiting nearly a year for treatment.
On average, Queensland families wait more than 300 days to access public dental care. Axing the Child Dental Scheme will force thousands of Southside children into the already long queues at the QEII Hospital and the Yeronga Dental Hospital for public dental treatment. Pensioners and others who cannot afford private dental treatment will be forced to wait longer as waves of children flood the public waiting rooms.
This latest LNP attack on dental health programs joins their previous hits:
$390 million cut from adult public dental services, worsening dental waiting lists across Australia.
$225 million cut from Labor’s program to build dental clinics in regional Australia and nursing homes.
$125.6 million already cut from the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.
The LNP have avoided serious tax reform, and instead have resorted to yet another attack on health.
TUESDAY, 3 MAY 2016