Rural and remote dental services will receive a significant boost under a re-elected Coalition Government with the announcement of a two year, $11 million commitment to be delivered by the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

The funding commitment will ensure that rural and remote communities continue to receive dental outreach services while the Coalition’s Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme is being implemented.

In recognition of the RFDS’s world class reputation for excellence, the Coalition will also provide certainty and stability by extending the contract for the continued delivery of aeromedical services across rural and remote Australia until 2019-20.

By providing this long term contract extension, the RFDS will have the confidence and certainty to continue investing in critical infrastructure to improve the health of rural and remote Australians.

Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Minister for Rural Health, Fiona Nash said these two measures illustrate the Coalition’s continued commitment to improving the health outcomes of Australians who have chosen to live outside of the major cities.

“The Royal Flying Doctors Service holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians. They are an iconic Australian brand and have an international reputation for the delivery of life saving health services,” Minister Nash said.

“The Royal Flying Doctors Service provides aeromedical evacuations, GP and nursing clinics, medical consultations and dental services to remote communities who otherwise wouldn’t receive them.

“I am particularly pleased that the RFDS will also be able deliver much needed dental services to these regions.”

Minister Nash said that remote Australians continue to suffer from poorer dental outcomes than their city counterparts.

“Evidence shows that rates of untreated childhood cavities and tooth decay are significantly higher in remote communities because there are almost three and a half times less dentists in rural and remote areas.

“The Coalition is investing around $5 billion over the next four years in dental services, but it is critical that we ensure rural and remote communities are receiving the services they need while significant reform is occurring.

“This measure will ensure that dental services will be provided in areas where there is clear market failure and demand driven systems like Labor’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule simply didn’t work,” Minister Nash said.

These announcements will compliment last week’s commitment to appoint the first ever National Rural Health Commissioner and the development of a National Rural Generalist Pathway which will ensure more highly skilled doctors in rural and remote parts of Australia.

“The Coalition has made rural health policy a key priority in this election, building on significant policy reforms that have been put in place during this term of government.” Minister Nash concluded.


The RFDS is a not-for-profit organisation which the Australian Government has funded since the 1930s.  The Commonwealth is the largest funder of RFDS services nationally.

The RFDS programme is an essential component of the Government’s commitment to rural and remote Australia.

The RFDS is funded to deliver primary aeromedical evacuations and other essential health services through an ongoing appropriation outside contestable market space.

In 2014-15, the RFDS delivered 4,420 primary aeromedical evacuations, more than 5,760 GP and nursing clinics, over 64,000 remote consultations and 2,354 medical chests.

The RFDS is made up of seven separate legal entities, four of which are funded under the Commonwealth’s RFDS Programme to deliver services in rural and remote areas of Qld, NSW, SA, NT (south of Tennant Creek to the SA border) and WA.


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