Steve Cansdell
Steve Cansdell

Cavity left in dental budget

SLASHING the state's public dentistry budget by $340 million looks set leave a major cavity in services to Clarence Valley patients.

Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell said the move would extend already lengthy waiting lists for patients in the Valley.

“This is terrible news for low-income locals with dental problems because public dentistry waiting lists in our region are already appalling,” he said.

“NSW received $370 million this year from Canberra to subsidise free private dental treatment to people with chronic conditions, but that is set to be slashed to just $30 million under the Gillard Government's new program.”

Mr Cansdell said the O'Farrell Government was working to address problems in the public dental system and this would only make things worse.

“The NSW Government has only just established a Dental Health Taskforce to develop a plan to reduce dental waiting times, address public dentistry workforce shortages and increase dental services to match local needs.

“However it is going to be very difficult to improve outcomes for local patients if we have to cop cuts of nearly $1 million a day from Canberra.”

Mr Cansdell said it was not the first time Gillard Government policies had undermined NSW Government initiatives to improve the lives of locals.

“We brought in electricity rebates for low-income households but these will be wiped out by Gillard's carbon tax. We provided tax relief to embattled registered clubs, but they now face massive extra costs under the Gillard/Wilkie pokie pre-commitment plan,” he said.

Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin's office was clarifying details on Mr Cansdell's claims and will reply in tomorrow's paper.

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