The report released today by Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) that showed at least 500,000 low income Australians are on waiting lists for public dental care highlights an urgent need for leadership in the area of dental health in Australia.

For Tony Abbott’s office to wash their hands of responsibility and blame the states and territories is exactly the sort of thinking that has led to this shameful standard of living in the first place, said Queensland
Greens Spokesperson for Health, Elissa Jenkins.

�Abbott should put the toothpaste away for a second and wash his mouth out with soap,� she said.

�For a country as lucky as Australia to have 40% of its people unable to access dental health care when they need it is shameful.

�It’s really important that access to dental care is provided to Australians on a needs basis, not one’s ability to afford it.

�It could be really easy for the 60% who can afford dental care to forget others who need it, but fortunately Australians are a giving nation.

�Federal government policy should reflect the giving nature of Australians � the giving nature that does not penalise the poor.

�The Greens call on the federal government to take a good hard look at this ACOSS report and act accordingly to ensure that the needs of Indigenous Australians, people on low incomes, people living in nursing homes, people living in rural and remote areas, older people, students and single parents are not left in unspeakable pain,� she said.

Ms Jenkins said the current health system was fragmented and poorly coordinated at state and federal levels.

�This helpful report shows the need for the federal government to urgently increase public funding of dental health care in Australia.

�Yes, we all hate going to the dentist, but nothing beats having the choice,� she said.

For further information or interview opportunities call Elissa Jenkins 0418 786 986.

Elissa Jenkins
Spokesperson for Education, Industrial Relations & Health
Queensland Greens
0418 786 986

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