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National Civil Society Dialogue

The delegates of the National Civil Society Dialogue met in Old Parliament House Canberra on 6th and 7th August. This gathering of 60 delegates was sponsored by four national organisations:

* The National Council of Churches in Australia,

* The Australian Council of Social Service,

* The Australian Conservation Foundation, and

* The Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Civil Society organisations met to identify the common aims as they addressed the question: "What Kind of Australia Do We Want?"

This meeting built on the earlier consultation in October 2006, but in smaller working groups they sought to identify a set of benchmarks that might describe how a vibrant democracy in Australia would look.

Four separate workshops examined the following areas:

* A Fair, Equal and Reconciled Australia,

* Decent Work, Fair Wages and Economic Well-Being,

* Fair and Equitable Communities, and

* Australia's Climate Future.

Australia Fair Initiative

Australia Fair released the results of a national survey of attitudes to oral health funding in July. The survey, carried out by Roy Morgan Research in early July, found strong public support for an increased role for the Federal Government in dental care and services. While 75% of those surveyed believe that the Federal Government should at least share responsibilities for dental health services with the States and Territories, only 5% of people questioned believe the States and Territories alone should be responsible for dental health.

The survey found that 90% of people asked believed that is important to visit the dentist regularly, but that nearly 1 in 4 said the had not seen a dentist for over 2 years. In SA / NT just over half the people surveyed said they had seen a dentist in the past year.

Nearly 46% of people surveyed reported that the cost of dental care influences how regularly they visit a dentist. The figure was highest in Victoria (49.8%) and lowest in Queensland (40.5%).

Australia Fair supporters were encouraged to send a message to their Federal MP through the Australia Fair website, watch short video clip on You Tube and download a the new Australia Fair Learning Circle on oral health from the site.

The Learning Circle enables people to hold local discussions on the issue with prompted activities and sets of issues for discussions.

Reform of Australian Health Care

ACOSS worked with the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) on a major national summit in Canberra in late July. This included consultation with members of the public on their experiences in the health care system and the values they want to see reflected in it.

The consultation revealed that many Australians do without health care because of the costs, and that there is overwhelming support for the principle of access to health care for all Australians.

The summit received strong media coverage and helped stimulate a national debate. It concluded with a communique which is available at the AHCRA website, http://www.healthreform.org.au, along with media releases and summit papers.
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Title Annotation:Australian Council of Social Service
Publication:Impact
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 22, 2007
Words:495
Previous Article:President's message.
Next Article:A response to the Federal Government's intervention in the NT.
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