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State of decay: budget considered failure for dental care

07 August, 2006

The Association for the Promotion of Dental Health (APOH) and the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) have strongly criticised the recent NSW Budget for failing dental services across the State.

“Funding for dental services over the next four years will barely meet the inflation rate,” said Dr Hans Zoellner, Chair of APOH.

“The 2006-07 allocation will leave NSW as the lowest funding State Government across Australia. With an $828 million Budget boost for the overall Health portfolio, which is a 7.6% increase, the parlous state of public dental services received a miserly $4 million increase or 3.3%”

“The promised $4 million for each year over the next four years is at least five times less than what is required to make substantial changes to long waiting lists and inadequate staffing and skills levels, as demonstrated in a detailed costing given by APOH to Premier Morris Iemma, at his request in 2005,” added Dr Zoellner.

“Health Minister John Hatzistergos trumpeted this pitiful offering as a substantial initiative for improved dental health,” said NCOSS Director, Gary Moore.

“What a joke, especially coming from the same Minister who up until three weeks ago was going to massively charge the State’s low and modest income earners to improve the public dental fiasco that he presides over.”

“Minister Hatzistergos has ignored the recommendations of an Upper House Inquiry, dominated by his own parliamentary colleagues, that reported on the parlous state of dental health services in NSW just three months ago.”

“He has also ignored the detailed APOH costing given to the Premier and he has cast aside the widespread advice for large scale investment and change that comes from the State’s health and community sectors,” added Moore.

“The recent inadequate Budget result will also leave NSW totally unprepared for the dental workforce crisis expected in 2010-2013,” added Dr Zoellner.

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