Cheaper child dental care scheme expanded

·1-min read

Cheaper dental health care will be expanded to include eligible children under the age of two from the start of 2022.

New legislation will also increase the number of children eligible for the $1000 dental care cover by 300,000 after it passed parliament on Wednesday.

Liberal senator Wendy Askew said while the changes might seem minor, they would help prevent more serious dental conditions down the line.

They were integral to allowing children to start having a positive relationship with dentists from an earlier age, she told the Senate.

"Positive dental experiences for children early on will instil the importance of good dental hygiene at a young age," Senator Askew said.

"It will also stop the negative stigma around dental practitioners which could be reinforced if initial dental experiences require serious treatments.

"As a parent, and now recently a grandparent, I appreciate how important this amendment is."

The Greens unsuccessfully tried to expand the scheme and make it universally available rather than it being available only to parents or children on certain welfare payments.

The cover is available over a two-year period and the government expects that 15 per cent of children under the age of two who have teeth will access the scheme.

The measure was flagged in the government's 2021/22 budget and was based on a recommendation from a review of the legislation as well as community feedback.

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