Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed to parliament late last week that the means-tested Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) is facing the axe.
The scheme, which has been used by around one million children since it was introduced, was failing to live up to expectations the PM said.
Turnbull then went on to confirm earlier reports the program is under review.
“Now we are working on dental reform and, as part of that, it is only natural that the government considers the effectiveness of current programs.
“Every program’s effectiveness has to be examined regularly and we have a responsibility to ensure that every dollar we invest in dental services delivers the best health outcomes possible.
“We want to ensure that funding is targeted to where it is needed most.”
Catherine King, spokeswoman for the Opposition, said the government “only saw health as a source of budget cuts.”
“Labor initiated the scheme following alarming reports by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that 42 per cent of five year olds and 61 per cent of nine year olds had experienced decay in their baby (deciduous) teeth and 58 per cent of 14 year olds had experienced permanent tooth decay,” she said in a statement.
King touched on previously reported claims, saying the Abbott and Turnbull governments has failed to make parents aware of the program by refusing to promote it.
“After deliberately hiding the scheme from parents, the Turnbull government is now using that lack of promotion as cover to scrap a scheme its own health department has described as a ‘success’,” she said.