July 20, 2016 – Following the re-election of the Turnbull Government, the new ministry has been sworn in by the Governor-General, a line-up which includes the reappointment of Sussan Ley as the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport.
In welcoming the opportunity to work once again with Minister Ley, the ADA made it clear that there are a number of outstanding issues affecting the oral health of Australians and the dental profession as a whole that the Association would be placing at the top of the agenda over the course of the next three years.
The ADA remains concerned about the closure of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), a scheme which has proved highly successful at delivering dental care to children in need from low-income families. Its success has been validated by both the Australian National Audit Office’s Review of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and the Report of the Third Review of the Dental Benefits Act and its closure is seen as a regressive move by the ADA and associated health professionals.
Concomitant with this pressing issue is the planned replacement of the CDBS with the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme (caPDS) which relies heavily on an over-stretched public sector to deliver its services. While the ADA welcomes the government’s commitment to further investment in public sector dentistry, the way in which the caPDS will operate needs to be reconsidered. Specifically, the manner in which it is resourced, with insufficient funding and personnel, is wholly inadequate to the task at hand.
Additionally, Australians in rural and remote areas may well miss out, or incur significant expense in accessing caPDS services, given the uneven distribution of public sector resources throughout the country.
There has been a regrettable lack of consultation on both the removal of the CDBS and its replacement with the caPDS, which fails to take into account the ADA’s commitment to improving the oral health of Australians and the role of its members in delivering much of this dental care. The ADA is willing to provide input to the government in delivering the best possible oral health care to Australians and urges the government to meet with it to these and any other changes to the health care system that directly apply to dentistry.
Finally, the Australian Dental Health Plan (ADHP) provides a blueprint for the provision of dental care to disadvantaged Australians. Modeled on the CDBS, its approach closely matches the aims of the Healthy Mouths Healthy Lives Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015-2024 and the ADA would urge the government to take the ADHP into account when framing any future policies in this area.
Australian Dental Association
PO Box 520
Tel: 02 9906 4412