Labor’s plans for greater access to dental care for older Australians

29 April 2019

Labor has announced a plan to provide significant additional dental funding for pensioners and healthcare card holders over 65. 

The plan, unveiled as one of its election platform health pillars, will provide extra funding of $1,000 per person every two years, and will come into force from 1 July 2020, should Labor win the election on 18 May. 

Patients will be available to use their $1000 allocation through either their chosen private dentist or through public dental services. 

Australia’s peak dental body, the Australian Dental Association (ADA), has welcomed the policy announcement, which addresses concerns that the organisation has been raising for some time. 

“The ADA has been raising concerns about oral and dental care for older Australians for many years through the Australian Dental Health Plan and in our budget submissions,” said ADA President Dr Carmelo Bonanno. 

While welcoming the announcement, the ADA has called on Labor to work closely with the association on the finer details of the policy. 

“While we support this funding announcement, it is critically important that a Labor Government works with the ADA in developing the finer details of the policy as there are a number of issues that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth implementation and greatest uptake of the scheme. 

“The ADA also backs the model used for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and have advocated for this model for older Australians, given its success.”