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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3971


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:45): There are precious few opportunities remaining for members of the coalition government to come into the House and apologise for axing the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

Government members interjecting

Mr STEPHEN JONES: It is not too late! There are a few days left for members opposite to come in here and apologise to their constituents for ripping $1 billion out of a scheme which is going to provide dental care for needy families and needy children around Australia. I have heard members opposite try to patch over this $1 billion slashing of the child dental benefits scheme by saying that the answer is to send all of these people back to the states and, what is more, to send more people back to the states.

I am surprised to hear the member for Braddon, who is from Tasmania, up the back there being so wholehearted in his support for this when he knows full well that the waiting list for the public scheme in Tasmania is 2½ years. The kids will be adults by the time they get access to the public scheme in his state. In New South Wales there are currently 16,000 people waiting to get access to the public dental scheme—16,000 people on a waiting list. Is it any wonder that the Premier, Mike Baird, refuses to publish waiting times in New South Wales? In Western Australia it is four months. In Victoria it is eight months. In South Australia it is 8½ months. And this is supposed to be an answer. Is it any wonder— (Time expired)