Indigenous children will benefit from $4.5 million expansion of dental care

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will benefit from a $4.5 million expansion of dental health services at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services under a Canberra Liberals Government.

Visiting Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services today, Liberal Leader Alistair Coe pledged that a Canberra Liberals Government will deliver the funding for two new dental suites.

“We want to make Canberra the best place to live, work and raise a family. This important announcement today is a part of our strong five-point plan for Canberra,” Mr Coe said.

“We will provide better access to health services for all Canberrans. Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services do a tremendous job at delivering health care services and this investment will help them to grow and expand their services.

“We believe all members of our community should have equal access to health care. This commitment underscores our commitment to better invest in the health services that Canberrans need most,” Mr Coe said.

The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs James Milligan said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children would benefit from the expansion of dental health services.

“A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience dental decay compared to non-Indigenous children, and Indigenous children are hospitalised for dental care at one and a half times the rate as non-Indigenous children.

“There will be significant benefits to the health and wellbeing of the community as a result of this investment,” Mr Milligan said.

The Canberra Liberals’ $4.5 million commitment to Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services is part of the Liberals’ 18-point plan to improve the lives of Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the ACT.

“Our plan is built on the belief that Indigenous Canberrans should have every opportunity to reach their full potential. Investing in health care that is culturally appropriate and best fits their needs is part of that plan,” Mr Milligan said.

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services expressed her gratitude and thanks to the Canberra Liberals for recognising the importance of dental health services to the Aboriginal community, including to Aboriginal children.

Ms Tongs said: “The commitment made by the Canberra Liberals to fund a set of dental suites in the health centre currently under construction will not only assure members of the Aboriginal community access to a modern, state of the art dental facility but will potentially also provide an opportunity for the existing building to be repurposed for a range of other possibilities such as occasional child care services, social and emotional or other programs as well as auspicing opportunities.”

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a speech which he delivered last week while tabling the latest Closing the Gap Report spoke bluntly about the reasons why the “gap” had not closed and of the need for a new approach. He urged Governments to restore the right to take responsibility, the right to make decisions, the right to step up. He promoted the need for an approach based on partnerships, of listening and empowering and of Governments providing the capabilities so that Indigenous Australians can make the best choices,” Ms Tongs said.

“The support that the Canberra Liberals have committed to extend to Winnunga AHCS is consistent with the approach the Prime Minister is advocating,” Ms Tongs said.