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A stronger dental workforce for Northern Australia.

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Education, Science and Training Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues


Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Australia � Tel: (02) 6277 7460 Fax: (02) 6273 4116

22 October 2007

A Stronger Dental Workforce for Northern Australia

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, today announced that a re-elected Coalition Government would establish a School of Tropical Dentistry at James Cook University’s Cairns campus.

A re-elected Coalition Government would establish the School with a 200 seat lecture theatre, an anatomy laboratory and clinical skills facilities. The School will accept 60 commencing students every year and ensure that students undertake training in areas across North Queensland including in Townsville, Mackay, Proserpine, Atherton and Thursday Island.

“The new dentistry course will focus on those students with an interest in tropical and Indigenous health issues and will build the health workforce in this important part of Australia.”

“A re-elected Coalition Government would invest $52.5 million in the new School of Tropical Dentistry,” Minister Bishop said.

“The number of dentists relative to the population in Far North Queensland is a third of what it is in our capital cities,” Minister Bishop said.

“There is a pressing need for these additional dental services in Far North Queensland where only 15 per cent of children under six are decay free, compared to 46.5 per cent across the state.”

The Coalition’s dental policy, announced in this year’s Budget and made more generous in an August announcement, will give people with serious dental problems up to $4,250 worth of Medicare funded dental consultations and treatment over two years, as part of a $396 million dental plan that will cover 450 specific dental items. Labor opposes this policy and would strip away this funding from the chronically ill.

“When Mr Rudd was running health in Queensland he allowed waiting lists to blow out by up to three years. He could not run health then and he should not be trusted to get his hands on the health of the people of North Queensland again,” Minister Bishop said.

“Mr Rudd cannot be trusted with running a $1.1 trillion economy nor should the people of North Queensland hand over to him responsibility for their future health. It’s just not worth the risk,” Minister Bishop said.

Minister Bishop congratulated the Liberal candidate for Leichhardt, Charlie McKillop, who has worked tirelessly to secure today’s announcement and thanked James Cook University and all those associated with the new School of Tropical Dentistry.

Media Contact: Minister Bishop’s Office: Murray Hansen 0417 886 155