VOHA Recent Activities – December Update

Federal Advocacy

VOHA has now met with 14 Federal MPs (and/or their advisors) in the last three months, in advance of the 2022 Federal election.

We have been advocating for two key policy positions:

Establish a Seniors Dental Benefits Scheme

  • As a matter of urgency, make oral health/dental care more accessible to all older Australians on Health Care Cards, as recommended by the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Estimated cost $2.84 billion over the first three years.

Provide a sustainable and higher-level long-term funding model for adult care

  • Replace annually agreed National Partnership Agreement with an ongoing model of funding (as per hospital agreements) to state/territory public dental services. Increase Commonwealth contribution to meet the planned Gillard Government spending levels, i.e. increase from current $108m to $416m pa, and increased annually by CPI, reviewed every three years.

 You can access our full Position Paper here.

(Top L to R: South Australia Council of Social Services representative Catherine Earl, VOHA Spokesperson Tony McBride)

(Bottom L to R: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie MP, Office of Rebekha Sharkie MP Electorate Officer Sue Rudall and ADPA Principal Advisor Jasmine Bulman) 

We have provided MPs with key oral health data relevant to their electorate as well as background data – we have provided an example of this information for electorates in New South Wales and Victoria.

Overall the response has been positive, with all MPs understanding the significance of the issues. It is clear that oral health is unlikely to be a frontline issue in the election campaign itself  (except for the Greens), but MPs have indicated there is a reasonable chance that should they win government action could be taken within the government’s term.

MPs we have met (or * if advisors instead) include:

  • Senator Jordon Steele-John, WA, Greens, Health Spokesperson    
  • Rebekha Sharkie MP, Mayo, SA, Central Alliance,  
  • Peta Murphy MP, Dunkley, Victoria, ALP
  • Maria Vamvakinou MP, Calwell, Victoria, ALP
  • Joanne Ryan MP, Lalor, Victoria, ALP
  • Julian Hill MP, Bruce Victoria, ALP
  • Ged Kearney MP, Cooper, Victoria, ALP, Shadow Asst Minister for Health and Ageing
  • Andrew Giles MP, Scullin, Victoria, ALP, Shadow Minister for Cities, Multicultural, etc
  • Kate Thwaites MP, Jagajaga, Victoria, ALP
  • Anthony Byrne MP, Holt, Victoria, ALP
  • *Helen Haines MP ,Indi, Victoria, Independent
  • *Brendan O’Connor MP, Gorton Victoria, ALP, Shadow Minister Defence
  • *Emma McBride MP, Dobell, NSW, Shadow Minister Mental Health ALP
  • *Clare O’Neil MP, Hotham, Victoria, Shadow Minister Senior Australians & Aged Care

Victorian Advocacy

In the last three months, VOHA has had both its six-monthly meeting with the Minister for Health, the Hon. Martin Foley, and its quarterly meeting with DHSV CEO, Sue McKee. Further, VOHA has just completed its Victorian Budget Submission for the 2022-23 financial period. Our budget proposal focusses on:

  • a short-term recovery program for adult care by
    • funding a catch-up program in community clinics of $42 million to treat an extra 92,000 Victorians in 2022/23 as the first step in future investments
  • facilitating changes in the medium term to enable greater focus on prevention,
    • enabling different value-added and preventive models of care to be included in the DWAU formula for care provided by community health clinics

You can read our Budget Submission HERE.

The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) has generously agreed to include VOHA’s recommendations in the VCOSS Budget Submission.

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