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Greens welcome dental entitlement bill

Media Release
Christine Milne 12 Sep 2012

The Australian Greens today welcome the introduction of legislation to create a Medicare dental entitlement into the Parliament.

“Creating a new Medicare dental entitlement for kids is a huge win for the health of Australians and an investment in their future, and has come about because of the Greens’ agreement with the Gillard government,” said Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens.

“If Melbourne hadn’t voted Green in 2010, this massive investment in dental health wouldn’t exist,” said Adam Bandt, Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens.

Greens health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale said that this bill will create a new Medicare dental entitlement for 3.4 million young Australians so that they can go to the dentist just like going to the doctor.

“Enshrining this entitlement in legislation now means that a future government would need to get control of the Senate to wind it back,” said Senator Di Natale.

“The Greens, in the balance of power, will protect it and continue working to expand it into a universal Denticare scheme, so that no Australian will have their health determined by their bank balance.

“I know Joel Fitzgibbon and some of his colleagues have complained that the Greens shouldn’t claim credit for Government initiatives – but clearly they need a history lesson.

“This Labor Government has tried to close the CDDS twice before without putting anything in its place.  The Greens voted it down until we negotiated a comprehensive dental scheme in its place.  And now, thanks to the Greens we have more than $4 billion in new funding for dental health instead.

“We made dental health reform part of our agreement to support the Government after the 2012 election, and we made Medicare funded dentistry a condition of our support for reform.

“Some Labor people might not like it but the reality is that two of this Government’s most significant and lasting reforms – putting  a price on pollution and expanding access to dental care – are in large part thanks to the Greens.

“These two reforms are also proof of the constructive, mature and responsible role the Greens have played in the life of this parliament.”

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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