The Victorian and federal governments are bickering again, after two state ministers claimed the Hume region stood to lose almost $1.8million in public dental services because of national funding cuts.
State Labor politicians blamed Malcolm Turnbull and his Federal Government, saying the decision could affect more than 4300 people.
State Members for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp and Jaclyn Symes said the decision to rollout a National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services for adults equated to a 30 per cent cut to dental investment.
‘‘Malcolm Turnbull’s new dental program is cutting vital funding to our public dental services and will leave thousands of Victorians without the dental care they need and deserve,’’Mr Gepp said.
They say the cut amounts to almost $30million during the life of the agreement across Victoria, affecting patients and cutting jobs as providers have to scale back on services.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Daniel Andrews’ Victorian Government was ‘‘not only lying, but had no shame’’.
And the truth was that Commonwealth funding was ‘‘increasing to record levels every year’’.
‘‘Funding is growing from $3.26billion under the previous Labor Government to more than $5.7billion under the Coalition in 2020-21,’’ Mr Hunt said.
Ms Symes claimed people living in regional communities would be hardest hit, with more than half of public dental agencies located in regional Victoria.
‘‘Patients in Northern Victoria will soon be unable to access dental care and treatment as a direct result of cuts by the Turnbull Government — that’s not good enough,’’ she said.
Mr Hunt said it was disappointing to see state ministers trying to ‘‘scaremonger patients’’, calling it a low act.