In mid-April, the Turnbull Administration announced a new set of health reforms that would see the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) replaced with the new Child and Adult Public Dental Schedule (CAPDS) on 1 July, 2016.
The Commonwealth Government’s Department of Health also confirmed that the new dental funding scheme was in place and would commence on this date, following the closure of the CDBS on 30 June.
The new reforms seemed like a done deal.
The final step to implement the CAPDS was for parliament to pass the new legislation. But before this could happen, the Federal Election was announced and the Australian Government went into caretaker mode.
Without this passage of legislation, the new changes to dental funding were left in limbo. This left only one course of action for the DOH. They withdrew all information regarding the closure of the CDBS and reinstated the program until further notice.
This basically means that the CDBS will not cease on 30 June, but will continue through for the rest of the 2016 calendar year. That is, unless the Turnbull administration wins the election and fast-tracks their dental health reforms – once parliament resumes.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has spoken out with great concern about the government decision to axe the CDBS.
The ADA claims that the new CAPDS is an inadequate funding model for the current needs of Australian society. In its view, the new dental program:
- represents a budget saving and a cut to public dental funding of $200 million.
- will shift more dental patients onto long waiting lists, in the already overburdened public dental provider sector.
- doesn’t support the dental needs of children living in rural and remote areas. The dental health of children from disadvantaged groups with the community will also be on the line.
The ADA has launched an online petition campaign to save the Child Dental Health Benefits – the best public dental program for children across Australia. To view and participate in the petition, click the following link: change.org