THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
EWEN JONES LETS DOWN TOWNSVILLE DENTAL PATIENTS
FRIDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2014
In Parliament today the Federal Member for Herbert, Ewen Jones, boasted to supporting cuts to public dental services which will hurt his own constituents.
The Abbott Government’s first budget cut $400 million from public dental services.
Mr Jones interjected during Labor MPs speaking against the cuts and was challenged to own up to his constituents:
Tanya Plibersek: ‘So you support these cuts do you?’
Ewen Jones: ‘Yes I do.’
“Today Mr Jones betrayed all his constituents on a public dental waiting list in Townsville when he spoke up for these cruel cuts,” said Ms Plibersek.
“Like the rest of the Abbott Government’s unfair Budget, the cuts to public dental services hurt the people most who can least afford it.”
“The Abbott Government’s dental cuts means hundreds of thousands of people with poor dental health, many of them in constant pain, will continue to wait for treatment,” Ms King said.
“These cuts will have a particularly damaging impact in regional cities like Townsville, where there are fewer dentists than in the capital cities.”
The $400 million in cuts to public dental are on top of $229 million in cuts to the Dental Flexible grants program, which reduces access barriers for people living in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas.
In stark contrast, Labor in government:
- Introduced reforms to make going to the dentist as easy as visiting a GP for 3.4 million children – including 28 000 in Herbert;
- Funded the development of the Tropical Queensland Centre for Oral Health which benefits North Queensland; and
- Provided $250 million to expand the Townsville Hospital with additional beds and operating theatres.