Dental Infrastructure Fund

$225 M program for new dental clinics and workforce expansion in outer metropolitan and regional and rural areas.


The federal government will pour $4 billion into a dental package to provide millions of children and millions of adults on low incomes or in rural areas access to government-subsidised dental care. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek this morning announced that more than three million of children would be eligible for the scheme, which will begin in 2014.  For adults on low incomes, $1.3 billion to fund an additional 1.4 million services will be available in the six-year package.

There would also be $225 million for dental infrastructure and workforce expansion in outer metropolitan and regional and rural areas.

The exact program guidelines are yet to be announced but it is indicatively described below.



The Dental Infrastructure Fund is used to support strategic capital investments in dental infrastructure to equip Australia’s dental system for the future, such as the renewal and refurbishment of hospitals, hospital facilities, medical technology equipment, and medical research facilities and projects. $225 million has been allocated  to support dental infrastructure and workforce expansion in outer metropolitan and regional and rural areas.

Eligible Expenses

The Dental Infrastructure Fund (DIF) can be used to construct a new building or to purchase or refurbish and/ or extend an existing building. This includes:

  • building activities required to design and construct/refurbish the project;
  • direct building costs associated with building new or upgrading existing premises (such as building, plumbing and/or electrical costs);
  • purchase of an existing property;
  • information management and technology systems installation; and
  • purchase of land.

This may also include some establishment costs for the purchase of health, diagnostic or research equipment necessary to furnish the project.
Dental Infrastructure Fund (DIF) cannot be used for:

  • ongoing operating costs including rent, utilities, salaries and building maintenance;
  • professional health services (including services to which an MBS item relates);
  • maintenance of medical equipment; and
  • the purchase of consumables for medical equipment (other than a consumables pack that may be supplied with equipment on delivery).



Dental Infrastructure Fund (DIF) projects should focus on upgrades to regional dental health infrastructure, expansions to regional hospitals, and to supporting the dental training capacity of regional hospitals. Preference will be given to Dental Infrastructure Fund (DIF) projects that align with the Government’s health reform agenda in the following areas:

  • improved health facilities and equipment;
  • primary and community health service infrastructure – focusing on facilities or equipment to support a more integrated approach, particularly in the areas of chronic disease, mental health and dental health;
  • workforce training infrastructure – to support approaches to improve the health and medical workforce, to deal with the increase in numbers of people training to be health professionals, and to assist in improving distribution;
  • e-Health – projects that will expand the use of e-Health to increase connectedness between providers and patients;
  • research facilities that are integrated with improving clinical care and/or health workforce training.


Expert Assistance

Writing a good quality grant application is a critical element in the application process. An application needs to be well thought through, written concisely, have clear objectives and purpose, and show clear links to the objectives of the grant guidelines.

The grant application must answer all questions, provide all required information and respond to the merit criteria. It should also reflect your organisation’s business strategy.

Writing a good application takes time and effort, and requires particular writing skills.

Bulletpoint are expert grant consultants and can assist with all aspects of grant preparation.

Call us on (03) 9005 6789 or email to discuss further.

We have significant experience in applying for health grants. Typical areas where we can be of assistance include:

  • Demonstrating the identified need;
  • Highlighting the relevance to current government policies and priorities;
  • Complete the Project Plan and Budget Projections;
  • Identify Outcomes that are measurable;
  • Detail the applicant organisation’s experience or expertise in undertaking the project/s;
  • Calculating the value for money; and
  • Demonstrating capacity to deliver quality outcomes



There is no official guidance on the next round of timing for the Dental Infrastructure Fund, but we expect it could open in early 2013. But, for interested parties, contact us to discuss what work you can begin now. Sign up to receive the latest grant announcements.


Media Release

More than three million children will be eligible for government-subsidised dental care, in the same way they’re now entitled to Medicare-funded GP visits.

Under a landmark $4 billion package, the Gillard Labor Government will also provide dental services to more than one million low income adults and Australians in rural and remote areas, focusing especially on pensioners.

The Dental Health Reform package is an unprecedented initiative to address increasingly poor oral health amongst Australians – in particular, among low and middle income families.

The six-year package announced today includes:

    • $2.7 billion for around 3.4 million Australian children who will be eligible for subsidised dental care;
    • $1.3 billion for around 1.4 million additional services for adults on low incomes, including pensioners and concession card holders, and those with special needs; who will have better access to dental care in the public system; and
    • $225 million for dental capital and workforce will be provided to support expanded services for people living in outer metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.

“While Medicare and free hospital care have been a basic right for Australians for decades, millions of people in this country still go without adequate dental care,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Labor believes we have a responsibility to ensure Australians who are least able to afford to go to the dentist, and particularly children, should be given access to government-subsidised oral health care.”

Ms Plibersek said recent studies showed children in the poorest areas experience one and a half times the amount of tooth decay and cavities, compared to those in the wealthiest areas.

“We also know that low income households have more than double the number of family members with untreated tooth decay compared with high income households.”

Ms Plibersek said the $4 billion package was in addition to the $515 million announced in the 2012-13 Budget, which included a blitz on public dental waiting lists, additional dental training and support for people in rural and remote areas.

“This package will deliver a better system of dental health care for Australians that is accessible, affordable and focuses on prevention.”

Children from the aged two to 17 in Family Tax Benefit Part A-eligible families will be entitled to subsidised basic dental treatment, capped at $1,000 per child over a two-year period. This $2.7 billion initiative aims to address dental decay in children, which has been increasing since the 1990s.

“Investment in our children’s teeth is an investment in the future,” said Ms Plibersek.

“We know that poor childhood oral health leads to poor adult oral health, and has wide-ranging impacts on general health and wellbeing, including strain on our health and hospital system.’’

As part of the package, the Gillard Government is providing $1.3 billion to states and territories under a National Partnership Agreement to expand public dental services for low income adults. This funding will depend on the states and territories at least maintaining their current level of dental care services.

And $225 million in funding for dental infrastructure in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas will assist more Australians, regardless of their location, in gaining access to high quality dental care

The Dental Health Reform package will replace the Medicare Teen Dental Plan and the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS). The CDDS, introduced by the Howard Government, was poorly targeted, saw significant waste and over-servicing and failed to address the capacity constraints in existing public dental services.

Legislation to enshrine the new entitlement for children will be introduced, with passage expected this sitting session. The Dental Health Reform package is the result of detailed discussions between the Government and the Australian Greens.

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