Page 3604 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: We will continue to ensure our oral health services are recruited to and we are able to deliver services. One of the key things we will be doing is working with our colleagues across states and territories, and with the commonwealth government, to try to get funding certainty for this program.

I have sought Minister Butler’s commitment to support the work of the national dental reform working group that was established by the Health Chief Executives Forum to develop a long-term strategy for dental policy and funding. The national dental reform working group is finalising an options paper for consideration by health ministers in the coming months. These options will be focused on achieving a longer-term funding commitment from the Australian government for public dental health services for both children and adults.

We will continue to consider how we can prioritise oral health services. We have, obviously, also recently reviewed oral health services within Canberra Health Services to understand what opportunities are available, but having some funding certainty and growth in funding from the commonwealth would be a very helpful start.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, has the ACT government advocated to their federal counterparts to put dental care into Medicare?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Braddock for the question. We have not specifically advocated to our commonwealth counterparts in relation to putting dental into Medicare. Federal Labor has made their position on that very clear. What we have advocated for is ensuring there is certainty of commonwealth funding under the federal funding agreement and considering how that can continue to grow into the future rather than be cut, as it was under the previous coalition government.

Federal Labor is committed to working collaboratively with the states and territories to understand how we can best structure that agreement and ensure we come to a long-term funding arrangement rather than an ad hoc year-by-year arrangement, where we never know what we are going to get from one year to the next, and sometimes it even goes backwards. I am looking forward to continuing that work with Minister Butler.

Transport—electric buses

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Transport. Minister, regarding the delivery of electric buses, the ACT government has said through a number of avenues, “The first 12 battery electric buses will arrive before the end of calendar year 2022.” Given that there are effectively 20 business days until the end of the year, Minister, what day will the 12 buses arrive?

MR STEEL: I am very much looking forward to making an announcement about the impending arrival of the 12 leased electric buses which will be joining the Transport Canberra fleet. This is part of the ACT government’s commitment to transition our Transport Canberra fleet to zero emissions by 2040 or earlier. We set that out in our Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra.

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