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Monday, 20 August 2001
Page: 29706


Mr BEAZLEY (Leader of the Opposition) (2:42 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, given your claim that enough federal money is being spent on health, what will you do to assist the more than 100,000 people waiting for dental services in Queensland, 50,000 of whom have been waiting for more than two years for dental treatment? Prime Minister, is it not true that the Queensland government has increased its funding for dental services and these long waits are due solely to you scrapping the Commonwealth Dental Scheme in 1996?


Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition will come to his question.


Mr BEAZLEY —Prime Minister, what positive solution will you be proposing to address the growing crisis in dental health in Australia?


Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —In answer to the Leader of the Opposition, that program was not scrapped. That program was a four-year program which was allowed to continue, and that was the end of it. I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that, under the new taxation arrangements, the state of Queensland will be better off earlier than any other state. The greatest beneficiary under the new taxation arrangements is the state of Queensland. I would suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that, if he is to have any credibility as a national political leader, he ought to require the state leaders of his own party to bear their own constitutional responsibilities.