Dental scheme promises financial help for 3.5 million kids
A NEW dental scheme will give financial help for 3.4 million children, offering $1000 every two years to be spent on improving oral health.
Children under 18, families on Family Tax Benefit A and those eligible for Medicare will now benefit from the scheme.
Research published in August found children in regional, rural and remote areas had poor oral health when compared to state and national averages for children aged between 5 and 6, and children between 11 and 12.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule was developed under the former Government with help from the Greens.
Greens Acting Leader Richard Di Natale said he hoped the government would not look to the newly-installed benefits to save money.
"(Prime Minister) Tony Abbott says he aspires to Medicare-funded dental treatment for all," Mr Di Natale said.
"We will hold him to his word and test (the Coalition's) commitment to expanding the scheme so that more Australians who struggle to afford treatment can get it."
Opposition Health spokeswoman Catherine King said she was concerned at the government's "lack of interest in health".
Health Minister Peter Dutton said the government has ambitions to improve dental services in Australia but was constrained by the "financial mess" left by the former Labor government which was supported by the Greens.
"There is a lot more the Coalition Government would like to do in dental but the level of debt inherited from the Greens-Labor alliance is a nightmare," he said.
"The coalition is committed to maintaining and improving our health system, however we must also clean up the financial mess left by the Greens-Labor alliance."
For families interested in the new benefits, visit my.gov.au or phone 132 011.
A letter is also being sent to eligible families by the Federal Government.