Dental Tribune Asia Pacific

ADA will continue its push for affordable dental care after Australian election

SYDNEY, Australia: A few days after the Australian elections, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has reaffirmed its commitment to collaborating with the re-elected coalition government to improve Australia’s dental health and to implement the ADA’s Australian Dental Health Plan (ADHP).

The election result follows a campaign in which the Australian Labor Party pledged A$2.4 billion to a pensioner dental plan, which would have invested up to A$2 million in older Australians’ improved access to dental care. The Australian Greens were planning to invest A$5.8 billion in Medicare-funded dental care. The Labor policy was welcomed with particular enthusiasm, as it fulfilled key elements of the ADHP, which provides a comprehensive framework through which the federal government can provide services to groups with unmet dental health needs. These groups include children, adults and seniors from lower socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from rural and remote areas, and those with special needs.

Despite Labor’s loss, the emphasis on fulfilling the ADHP will continue with a coalition government, noted ADA President Dr Carmelo Bonanno. “During the election, the ADA was overwhelmed by feedback from both ADA branches around Australia and the public about the desperate need to provide oral healthcare to disadvantaged groups.”

“This is a critical area for the coalition government to address the needs of the disadvantaged for whom public waiting lists mean their oral health declines while they wait to be treated,” he explained. “Everyone in Australia, regardless of their ability to pay, should be able to receive dental care. Our goal is a robust model of a mix of affordable public and private dentistry which accommodates the dental needs of the whole community.”

The ADA has long lobbied successive federal governments to address the urgent and growing need for additional, targeted and sustainable funding to meet the requirements of disadvantaged Australians, and it will continue its push for affordable oral healthcare with the re-elected coalition government.

“We look forward to continue working with Minister [Gregory Andrew] Hunt to improve the dental health of the Australian public and will be lobbying for implementation of the ADA’s Australian Dental Health Plan,” Bonanno said. “As a non-partisan organisation, the ADA has long-standing relationships with both sides of the political divide. We will work productively with both the coalition government and the Labor opposition to bring about good policy for dentists and the Australians they treat.”

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