Greens Leader Calls On New Aussie Government To Include Dental In Medicare
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In an address to the National Press Club, Bandt argued that these changes would mean thousands of dollars worth of long-term support for those families struggling to pay bills.
He said: "These would be long-lasting changes that would deliver real relief to everyday people battling with high inflation and low wages and incomes.
"Better than a short-lived cut to fuel excise that can be wiped out by a profiteering petrol corporation, these measures would mean people were better off not just right now, but next month and next year, year after year."
The Greens have long been supporters of including dental care into Medicare and allowing universal access to the support.
The party estimates that free dental and healthcare would save a family of four around $7,000 a year, with an estimated $960 spent on dental care each year.
According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Australians spent $9.5 billion (USD $6.58 or £5.41 billion) on dental services in the 2019-20 financial year.
The majority of that was paid in out-of-pocket costs rather than through healthcare.
Bandt said: “The government should also put dental into Medicare, delivering real cost-of-living relief to everyone in the country.”
The Greens’ position on dental care is no surprise, making it a key point of their election campaign earlier this year.
Bandt tweeted in May: “Dental healthcare must be universal. It's a human right. The Greens will put dental into Medicare.”
Dental healthcare must be universal. It's a human right.— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) May 18, 2022
The Greens will put dental into Medicare.
Meanwhile, the government currently has plans to reduce childcare costs from July next year; however, the Greens believe this isn’t coming soon enough.
The childcare subsidy rate will be lifted to 90 per cent for the first child, with the rate dependent on how much a family earns.
A family earning $75,000 will be eligible for that 90 per cent subsidy; however, a family earning $120,000 (USD $83,166 or £68,324) will only be eligible for up to 82 per cent.
However, Bandt believes that the July change is too far away, and has even called on the government to make childcare completely free in their October budget.
He said: "Make child care free and support the workforce.
"We don't need to wait for another review to tell us that child care is in crisis."
The measures would cost the government an estimated $182 billion (USD $126.1 or £103.6 billion) over the next couple of decades, however, the Greens believe taxing gas companies and the wealthy would help cover such a cost.