The Age 6 May 2012:
HALF a billion dollars will be injected into dental care for the poor, while families with schoolchildren will receive cash payments in two of the few big-spending measures in Tuesday's austerity budget.
The Sunday Age can reveal that 400,000 Australians stuck on the public dental waiting list because they can't afford a private dentist will be targeted for help in a $345 million blitz on the public backlog, starting on January 1.
Another $170 million will be used to lay the groundwork for a national dental scheme, funding more graduate training places and paying dentists to relocate to remote areas.
''Improving our dental health system has been a priority for me since I first became health minister and this package delivers hope to those who have waited too long on public dental lists,'' Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said. ''It will lay the foundation for a new way of providing dental services that will ensure that those most in need will get care when and where they need it.''…..
Hopefully the Gillard Government will so tightly constrain state governments in relation to this funding that they are unable to take this money into their coffers to swell their own budgetary bottom lines and, then stall implementing any real improvements to public dental health services.