Dental plan cuts to bite for local families

Top award winner Galvin Yap with part of his work 'Art or Rubbish ? The Artists' Struggle
Top award winner Galvin Yap with part of his work 'Art or Rubbish ? The Artists' Struggle".

Grow Up Smiling was tabled in Parliament in early June but Brand MHR Gary Gray said the Liberal Party did provide its support.

‘As Tony Abbott repeatedly said, they will devote entire days to repealing legislation if elected,’ Mr Gray said.

He said about 28,000 local children would have access to the $2.7 billion program, giving two to 17-year-olds access to $1000 in dental benefits every two calendar years.

‘This will help pay for basic dental care, such as check-ups, x-rays, fillings and extractions,’ he said.

But Liberal Brand candidate Donna Gordin said the government had cut $1 billion from dental health by closing the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS) and delayed the implementation of any new scheme.

‘This was a particularly cold move as 80 percent of patients using this scheme were concession card holders,’ M Gordin said.

‘This means many of the poor and disadvantaged in our community with cancer, heart conditions, diabetes and other chronic diseases, who have major dental problems, have been dumped on to public waiting lists.’

Last week, a report on Australian experiences in health care revealed that 34 per cent of Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah residents put off seeing a dentist because it costs too much.

Perth South Coastal Medicare Local (PSCML) chief executive Paul Hersey said figures from the National Health Performance Authority were ‘concerning, but not surprising’.

‘We know PSCML operates in a low socio-economic area, with figures showing both Kwinana and Mandurah are areas of relative disadvantage,’ Mr Hersey said.

‘Statistics show our region has a higher proportion of concession and health care card holders relative to the rest of Western Australia and families with children are experiencing a high level of economic hardship.

‘Of females ages 15 to 54, 7.3 per cent are receiving a sole parent pension. This figure is nearly 50 per cent higher than the rest of Australia.’