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Abbott must support Labor's teen dental plan: not play the blame game.



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Home > News > Abbott Must Support Labor's Teen Dental Plan - Not Play The Blame Game

Media Statement - 12th November 2007

Nicola Roxon

Federal Labor today called on Health Minister, Tony Abbott to support its Teen Dental Plan rather than engaging in the tired old blame game and saying it was a State responsibility.

“Instead of picking fights, Mr Abbott should work with the States and Territories,” Nicola Roxon said.

Mr Abbott was in full sneer mode yesterday when he stated: “What Mr Rudd is really doing is making up for the mistakes of the State Labor Governments.”

Mr Abbott is advocating doing nothing because he would rather score points off State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers.

In fact, it was the Howard Government that cut $100 million a year funding from dental care as soon as it was elected - leading to public dental waiting lists of 650,000.

Mr Abbott also declined to match the policy.

Why pass the buck and play the blame game - instead of coming up with solutions for working families?

Why not match a significant investment which will take pressure off working families and help them get the dental care they need?

A Rudd Labor Government will invest up to $510 million over three years to assist over one million Australian teenagers aged between 12 and 17 with dental costs.

From the middle of 2008, Labor will provide vouchers for parents with children aged 12 to 17 who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit A - so that they can claim $150 of the cost of a dental check-up.

The Teen Dental Plan builds on Federal Labor’s investment of $290 million to provide up to one million additional dental consultations and treatments to help clear public dental waiting lists around the country.

This brings Federal Labor’s investment in better dental health to $800 million over the forward estimates period.

As many as one in three Australians report avoiding a visit to the dentist because of the cost involved. It is time Mr Abbott stopped playing the blame game and matched Labor’s plans for the future.

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12/11/2007 http://www.alp.org.au/media/1107/mshea120.php