Greens’ health spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today that in the May budget the Government should prioritise fixing Australia’s dental health crisis over tax cuts for big business.
“Untreated dental disease can lead to infection, heart disease and malnutrition but millions of Australians cannot afford to see a dentist. It’s a tragedy that in a wealthy country like Australia a person’s bank balance determines their oral health.
“Excluding dental health from Medicare results in 60,000 hospital presentations each year and one in ten visits to a GP. There is no reason why our mouth should be treated any differently to the rest of our body and no reason why visiting a dentist should be any different to visiting a doctor.
“Big business want a tax cut that would cost the Government $16 billion over the next ten years, much of which will go to hugely profitable mining companies and the big banks.
“But the National Advisory Council on Dental Health, a joint Greens initiative, has given us a roadmap of how to bring dental into Medicare where it belongs. Budgets are all about priorities and that’s where the money should be spent.”
“Overall Australia is a low-taxing country, coming in well below the OECD average, yet both parties now favour further tax cuts for the big end of town over reducing the dental inequity in our health system.
“Wayne Swan has a choice to make in this year’s budget. Will he cave in to vested interests or will he fund Denticare?
“The Treasurer needs to put the wishes of the Australian community ahead of the interests of big business or he can longer lay claim to be part of the social democratic project.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600