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Major parties ignoring dental health : New poll shows Greens 'Denticare' proposal popular

Media Release
Bob Brown 29 Jul 2010

The Australian Greens would use a stronger voice in federal parliament to push for increased funding for dental health, including a universal 'denticare' scheme.

A national Galaxy poll of over 1000 people shows that 82% of Australians would support the federal government establishing a universal dental-care scheme.

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown, who will visit a suburban dental clinic in Sydney today, said that the Greens denticare system would help the 500,000+ Australians on dental waiting lists.

"The Greens will act in Parliament to establish a universal basic dental health care scheme, to be incorporated into Medicare," said Senator Brown.

The scheme would cost around $4.3 billion but produce savings to overall health costs of $2.3 billion.

"The Menzies centre estimates dental problems already cost Medicare around $350 million and poor oral health costs Australia a further $2 billion per year."

"Good teeth are fundamental to good health, and poor dental health can affect people's overall health, ability to find employment and general well-being," said Senator Brown.

Lead New South Wales Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon said improving access to dental care would improve the lives of many people.

"We're seeing a deep divide in this state between the haves and have nots when it comes to dental care, which would be bridged by the Greens denticare scheme," Ms. Rhiannon said.

"People on low incomes who can't afford high private dentist fees endure waits of 12 months or longer to see a public dentist in NSW.

"In rural or regional areas even accessing a private dentist can take months."

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