The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has been on a roller-coaster for the last two months.
The ride started in 23 April with the Government announcement of its closure on 30 June, 2016.
The announcement caused a media outcry from Australian dental organizations, the Labour party and the greater community. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) condemned the closure, as well as the new dental program that will replace it – the Child and Adult Public Dental Program (CAPDS).
Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten strongly objected to the new policy by stating, “This is the equivalent of cutting Medicare and flooding the emergency wards of Australian hospitals with more patients.” He went on, “The idea that you improve the dental health of children by cutting $1 billion and making all the children of Australia have to go through public waiting lists to get dental care support from the government is a dental care hoax.”
By late April, news of the closure hit home. Thousands of families across Australia, with an outstanding balance on each of their children’s $1000 benefit cap, started booking dental appointments before 30 June, 2016. They were also saying good bye to their personal family dentists and rejoining the long public dental waiting lists to see a random dentist.
But an unusual thing happened in the final sitting session in Parliament before the double-dissolution federal election on 2 July.
The new legislation was not passed leaving both dental schemes in limbo, as the Government went into caretaker mode. However, by delaying the implementation of the new CAPDS and leaving the CDBS open, until after the Federal election, the Liberal Party did avoid a possible voter backlash on the hot topic.
So, the Department of Health has kept the CDBS open with no specific closure date.
And if Bill Shorten becomes Prime Minister, the CBDS will stay open for the Aussie kids that need it the most.
The ADA is appealing to the Australian public to support an online petition to save the CDBS – the best public dental program to service the diverse needs of children in Australian communities today.
To view, support and sign their online petition, please click the following link: change.org