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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14935

Dental Health

Dear Mrs Wicks

I refer to your letter of 18 February 2019 concerning a petition (EN0797) to the House of Representatives to include dental care in Medicare.

Dental treatment was not included under Medicare when it began and this policy has largely been continued by both sides of government. The Liberal National Government has no plans to include dental care under Medicare. The Government understands the importance of good oral health and its role in supporting general health and wellbeing. The Government is aware of the barriers to accessing affordable dental services and supports a range of targeted programs for adults and children to access care.

The Government is assisting children to access basic dental services through the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). Eligible children aged 2-17 years can access the CDBS for up to $1000 in benefits for basic dental services over two calendar years.

The Government also continues to support the states and territories to deliver public dental services for concession card holder adults through a National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services for Adults (the NPA). In the 2018-19 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Government committed an additional $107.8 million for a one year extension to the NPA. The extension will provide services to around 180,000 additional public patients. The NPA commenced on 1 January 2017 and will operate until 30 June 2020 providing $350.3 million and supporting services to around 580,000 public dental patients.

The extension ensures that additional public dental services are supported, while the Government and the states and territories discuss securing sustainable and fair future funding arrangements beyond 30 June 2020.

Thank you for writing on this matter.

Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Health, Mr Hunt(Petition No. EN0797)