Senate Select Committee into dentistry hands down its full report

ADA CEO, Deputy CEO and President in front of Parliament House in Canberra
Australian Dental Association
4 December 2023
7 min read

The report arising from the work of the Select Committee into the Provision of and Access to Dental Services in Australia, headed by Senator Steele-John, has now been released with the Government now given three months to respond formally to the report’s findings. 

The Select Committee was established back in April this year, charged with reporting on a range of issues to do with dentistry in Australia including, but not limited to, the experience of children and adults in accessing and affording dental and related services, the adequacy and availability of public dental services in Australia, including in outer-metropolitan, rural, regional and remote areas, and the interaction between Commonwealth, state and territory government legislation, strategies and programs in meeting community need for dental services. 

ADA members were encouraged to provide their own individual experiences in addition to the formal submission made by the ADA which addressed the systemic issues affecting dentistry as a whole and which pressed for the Committee to consider its blueprint for the delivery and funding of dental care, the Australian Dental Health Plan

The interim report was released in June and the ADA backed its findings with ADA Deputy CEO, Eithne Irving saying that "We’re delighted to see the Senate Committee recognises the need for system-wide reform. It is long overdue that the Government took decisive steps to resolve the appalling oral health of millions of Australians." 

While the final report, titled A system in decay: a review into dental services in Australia, is lengthy and will take some time to be fully absorbed and responded to in detail, there are a number of  areas that the ADA believes require priority attention including the establishment of a Senior Dental Benefits Schedule, and increased recognition of the fact that oral health is an essential part of general health. 

Once the findings of the report have been fully taken in, the ADA will provide more detail to members on what is the most important report into the state of the Australian dentistry to be released in decades. 

As part of its three-month review and response timeframe, the ADA is urging the Government to consult fully with it in order that the full benefits of the report can be realised to the long-term benefit of the oral health of all Australians. 

Read the full report