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Abbott and Baillieu need to get behind Denticare: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 7 May 2012

At the Western Community Health Centre Children’s Dental Clinic in Footscray today Senator Richard Di Natale and Colleen Hartland MLC said that Tony Abbott and Ted Baillieu have to declare whether they support Denticare and will get behind the next phase.
“Yesterday the Greens secured the first phase of Denticare with more than half a billion dollars in funding for dental health,” said Senator Di Natale.
“This funding boost will benefit Australians all over the country by blitzing the public waiting lists and laying the foundations for Denticare. In Victoria, this funding could save community dental clinics like the Footscray Children’s Dental Clinic after the Baillieu ‘surplus at any cost’ budget put the viability of such services at risk.
“To the Federal Government’s credit, they have delivered on their agreement with the Greens to deliver a significant investment in dental health. Meanwhile dental investment is only an aspirational goal for the Federal Opposition, and the Victorian Liberal Government has further underfunded an already overburdened public dental system.
“Tony Abbott and Ted Baillieu should take the politics out of health and get behind the next phase of Denticare as the Greens work with the Government on a new national dental scheme.”
Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens MLC for Western Metropolitan, said that the boost in dental funding from the Federal Government is very welcome and may save dental services in the wake of last week's slash and burn budget from the Baillieu Government.

“Last week the Western Regional Community Health Centre's Children’s Dental Clinic in Footscray was facing almost certain closure due to the Baillieu government's failure to provide urgent funding in the budget. This week's federal funding announcement may just save it,” said Colleen Hartland.
“Thankfully The Greens have negotiated a federal funding boost that may give the clinic, and many others just like it, a fighting chance to continue delivering outstanding healthcare.

“This federal funding is also about bringing down the waiting lists. It couldn't have come at a more opportune time as last week's state Budget papers showed an increase in public dental waiting times across the state from an average of 17 months this year to 22 and 23 months next year.* We're hopeful that this federal money will undo Baillieu's neglect and prevent these waiting list increases.” said Ms Hartland.

Media contacts:
Andrew Blyberg (for Senator Richard Di Natale): 0457 901 600
Colleen Hartland MLC: 0417 445 845

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