Grants scheme draws more dentists to the bush

28 January, 2015

Rural communities throughout the nation should have more than a good reason to smile thanks to a grants scheme attracting private dentists to work in country areas.

Grants have so far been awarded to 68 dentists to make the move to places including Chinchilla, Cobar, Deloraine, Drouin, Emerald, Esperance, Hay, Mount Barker and Nhulunbuy.

It is expected more dentists will be on the way once the next funding round opens for the Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme (DRISS), run by Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA).

Dentists can apply for up to $370,000 in federal grants, including:

  • Relocation grants of between $15,000 and $120,000 scaled depending on the dentist's current location and the location of the new practice;
  • Infrastructure grants up to $250,000 to assist with establishing a new practice or to expand an existing one. Infrastructure grant funds can be used for building, refurbishment and equipment costs.

The next DRISS funding round runs from 23 February to 27 March. Another round will be held later this year from 7 September to 9 October.

"We've been delighted with the response to DRISS," said RHWA CEO, Greg Mundy.

"There is a real need for more dental services in rural Australia and this program is helping to fill that gap."

RHWA is running DRISS information sessions for dentists in Brisbane (6 February), Sydney (11 February), Melbourne (12 February), Adelaide (16 February) and Perth (17 February).

The DRISS team will also be attending the Australian Dental Association's 36th Australian Dental Congress in Brisbane from 25-29 March.