The launch of a new dental practice in Canberra's south has community leaders and medical experts hoping a generation of youth will take advantage of the $1000 government rebate for basic dental services.
Minister for Community Services Mick Gentleman opened the ACT's most southerly dental practice in the Calwell Shopping Centre on Tuesday after a community campaign was launched five years ago.
Chairman of the Doctors for Tuggeranong group, Nick Tsoulias, said his organisation had been lobbying dentists to open a clinic in Calwell since 2009 but had limited success until earlier this year.
"In 2009, we wrote more than 1000 letters to dentists across the country urging them to open a clinic in Tuggeranong's south and while we had a lot of expressions of interest, many fell through after the global financial crisis," he said.
Mr Tsoulias said he hoped the new practice run by Dr Sanjiv Pathak and Dr Atul Manani would enable many parents and children to make the most of dental services for the first time.
"A surprising number of children and parents in this community are not aware of the dental rebate and the territory and federal government should be doing more to raise awareness of the option," he said.
"This rebate is something that will benefit a lot of low-income families in Tuggeranong and particularly those in Richardson."
The child dental benefits scheme is available to children between the ages of 2 and 17 whose families receive Family Tax Benefit A and provides $1000 worth of dental care every two years.
Mr Tsoulias said the launch of the dental practice was the result of a community campaign led by the South East Tuggeranong Residents Association, the Calwell Early Childcare and Preschool, and Doctors for Tuggeranong.
Mr Gentleman said the clinic was a welcome addition to the existing health facilities in the Tuggeranong, including the refurbished community health centre and the walk-in centre.
"It is great to see the increased provisions of healthcare within the Tuggeranong valley, especially down south to assist residents in health prevention," he said.
"The opening of this new facility brings several new jobs to the South of Tuggeranong, along with increased economic activity for the region as a whole."
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/new-act-dental-practice-hopes-to-boost-childrens-health-in-tuggeranong-20141016-114wn2.html#ixzz3IAX2DQYY
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