Labor’s spokesperson for rural and regional health Stephen Jones has warned that changes to child dental benefits will mean longer waiting lists outside of our major cities.


The changes announced yesterday by Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash are just another set back for rural families. It is simply a strategy to hide a billion dollar cut to dental care.

The new scheme will force people to use public dental services delivered by the states and territories which are less accessible for people living in the bush. It is no good subsiding dental care if there are no services available.

The bottom line is that if families want to access this scheme they will have to rely on the public system. But the devil is in the detail because these are the very services which are harder to find in rural Australia and as a result the waiting lists are particularly long.

The current system allows families outside of our cities to draw on private clinics, improving accessibility issues of real concern to many people. But the deputy leader of the Nationals once again hasn’t considered the needs of people in the bush.