Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon and South Sydney Greens Convenor Dr Mehreen Faruqi collected petition signatures and distributed leaflets to build support Denticare being funded in this May's Budget. The Greens have nominated 28-30 March as Denticare days of action across Australia.
Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said, "Everyone should be able to afford to visit the dentist, but the reality is that one third of Australians say they can't afford to go or delay going because of the expense.
"The Labor government needs to get on board with public opinion which supports a Denticare scheme. The majority of Australians believe it is absurd that Medicare stops at the mouth.
"Untreated dental disease leads to complications which are already costing Medicare $350 million a year and the hospital system at least $100 million more.
"When you add to this $2 billion in lost productivity the public is paying a massive bill based on a system of neglect.
"Putting public money into preventative dental care and investing in public dental care makes good economic sense.
South Sydney Greens convenor Dr Mehreen Faruqi said, "Living and campaigning in South Sydney I know that many families on low incomes struggle to pay dental fees. As an academic at the University of NSW I'm aware that students face similar barriers to good dental health.
"Low income earners experience particularly poor dental health.
"The Greens' Denticare scheme would start with the most needy. Those on low incomes, children, pensioners and people with chronic disease will be first in line.
"The Greens will continue campaigning to convince the government that a universal Denticare scheme is a wise investment.
"As a society we can't afford not to make dental care an integral part of the public health system.