Don PageMember for Ballina- State Matters

Dental services funding boost

The NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalition has announced a commitment to provide an additional $208.25 million for public dental health services if elected to government in March 2007.

This four-year funding package will increase access to public dental services and bring NSW into line with dental standards in other Australian states and territories. It will be especially helpful to the thousands of North Coast pensioners who have to wait years to access publicly funded dental services.

The funding package will include:

$65 million to reduce dental treatment waiting lists and improve public dental health, including funds for comprehensive and preventative treatment.

$57.3 million to provide dental internships to improve training and immediately increase the public dental health workforce.

$40.18 million to increase remuneration for all dental professionals in the public service. This will align remuneration more closely with the private sector and other health care providers in the public sector and will help attract and retain dental health professionals into the NSW public health system.

$28.62 million for more dental and para-dental clinicians attracted and retained over time as working conditions improve for dental health workers.

$7.95 million for fluoridation and oral health promotion campaigns.

$5.6 million to establish a Clinical Institute of Dental Health to be responsible for policy development and disbursement of the public dental budget.

$3.6 million for rural and remote dental education scholarships to support the training and development of dentists dedicated to rural and remote service.

The NSW Government currently spends the least on dental services of all the Australian states and territories just $16 per person per year compared with more than $30 in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT.

Under the current Labor Government, public dental services have been neglected and there are up to an estimated 250,000 people on waiting lists for public dental care. This NSW Liberal/Nationals funding package will work to improve the decaying public health system in NSW.

$28 million for public libraries

The NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalitions has also made a commitment to increase funding for public libraries by $28 million over the next four years. The Coalition will increase public library funding by 21 per cent each year, bringing the total funding for public libraries to more than $52.6 million by 2010/11.

Public libraries are utilised by 50 per cent of the NSW population and are of great value to each and every community. However the NSW Government only contributes $3.53 per person to our libraries the lowest per capita allocation of any government in Australia.

The $28 million funding injection from the Coalition will bring the per capita allocation in NSW to $6.88 a 94 per cent increase.

The funding boost will enable the purchase of additional resources including software packages, hardware and books, as well as improved access to the internet and online information services. In addition, the funding will provide improved infrastructure, technical and professional support for library staff, and increased access to library programs and services for students.

It will also allow libraries to develop partnerships with other community organisations including schools, businesses and the media in the provision of access to information and support for the use of online information.

Public libraries in NSW are an irreplaceable resource and the NSW Liberal/Nationals are committed to ensuring our public libraries receive the support they need.

Ethanol support

The NSW Liberals/Nationals recently hosted a productive roundtable discussion on the benefits of ethanol in NSW as a way of reducing costs for motorists, cutting emissions of harmful pollutants and providing a boost to the agricultural sector. If elected in March 2007 the Coalition will be seeking a dramatic increase in ethanol production and use as part of the states fuel mix. The greater use of ethanol-blended fuel and biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, provides a more secure income for farmers, decreases our reliance on imported petroleum products, results in lower fuel prices for motorists, creates jobs in regional areas and reduces cancer-causing pollution.

Office contacts

Phone: 6686 7522

Fax: 6686 7470

Address: PO Box 1018, Ballina, NSW, 2478


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