Respect Public Dentistry

Victoria’s public dental sector workforce is frustrated at a lack of recognition of the important work they do to improve the oral health of vulnerable Victorians. With their enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) expiring more than two months ago and unacceptable waiting times for public dental care, they have been driven to prepare for industrial action.

  • Victorian public sector dentists are paid on average 20-30% less than their counterparts interstate.
  • The Victorian Government is yet to make a formal offer to improve the pay and conditions of Australia’s lowest paid public sector dentists.
  • The Victorian Government continues to stick to their draconian wage policy, offering a miserly 1.5% salary increase and 0.5% for additional changes to allowances or other conditions at a time when inflation is running at over 6%.
  • The Victorian public dental system is in a state of decay, with average waiting times increasing to 26.7 months in June 2022.

Victorian public sector dentists are paid on average 22% less than their counterparts interstate, but with larger gaps for new graduate dentists – 28% less than South Australia, 30% less than Queensland and 33% less than Tasmania.

A dentist working in the Victorian public dental system would have to work for four years to get the same starting salary as a new graduate in NSW, five years to get the same starting salary as a new graduate in Queensland, South Australia or Western Australia and six years to get the same starting salary as a new graduate in Tasmania.

The Victorian public dental system is in a state of decay, with average waiting times increasing to 26.7 months in June 2022, continuing the trend that has been going on since 2015 when the waiting time was only 11.8 months. Since 2018 the number of dentists working in the Victorian public dental sector has decreased by 19%, pointing to the problems with recruitment and retention tied back to employment conditions. Although the pandemic has had an impact, this data points to a longer-term issue that must be addressed.

What can you do?

You can help to make a difference. Send an email to your local Member of Parliament and tell them that it’s time to Respect Public Dentistry. Tell them that access to dental care is important to you. Ask them to ensure that dental care is funded adequately so that people do not miss out on necessary dental treatment. Encourage your friends to get involved in the campaign.

Use the map below to find your state electorate and see how long the waiting times currently are. Click on the electorate, and then click on the ‘Send email to Member of Parliament’ link for an auto-generated email. Add any personal information about problems you might have experienced accessing dental care to help illustrate how important oral health is to you, and why it is important to properly fund the public dental system.

Note: the email will BCC a copy to advocacy@adavb.org so we can track the success of the campaign. If you do not want your email to be copied to us, simply delete the BCC email address.