ADIA is the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of dental products. Our vision is for an industry that empowers oral health professionals to advance the health and wellbeing of all Australians...................... — ADIA Strategic Plan


DBA Considers Closing Public Dental Workforce Scheme

DBA Considers Closing Public Dental Workforce Scheme

7th Sep 18

Summary —

The Dental Board of Australia (DBA) is canvassing options with a view to ending the Public Sector Dental Workforce Scheme (PSDWS); a scheme established in 2005 to draw more overseas-trained dentists (OTD) to Australia to alleviate dentist workforce shortages in the public sector, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Key Issues For The Dental Industry —

The DBA is the Australian Government body that is responsible for the registration and accreditation of oral healthcare professionals. As such, it is responsible for the administration of the PSDWS which was established in 2005.

The PSDWS was established to alleviate shortages in the public sector dental workforce, particularly in rural areas. It exempts OTDs with qualifications from recognised dental education providers from the need to complete the Australian Dental Council’s (ADC) preliminary examination through the provision of a ‘limited registration’. This allows candidates to work under supervision while preparing for the practical assessment stage of the ADC examination process.

Individual states and territories assess the need for dentists practicing under the PSDWS in accordance with their specific requirement and fund positions and allocate candidates to supervisors accordingly.

Over the past few years there has been a substantial decline in demand for the scheme; both from candidates and from State Governments. As of 2017 there were only four practicing PSDWS registrants out of over 17,000 registered dentists nationwide, meaning that the scheme has done little to support the development of a rural dental workforce. Further, a review in September 2014 found that the PSDWS suffered from supervision difficulties in rural areas, poor quality assurance, and low ADC examination pass-rates for candidates.

For these reasons, the DBA has issued a consultation paper to canvas options to end the scheme which can be downloaded via the link below.


DBA Consultation Paper —

â–  Download [PDF]

Given the decline in demand for the scheme and the minute number of dentists operating under a limited registration, the closure of the scheme will have a negligible impact on the dental workforce in Australia.

Importantly, there are still several other pathways for general registration of dentists with overseas qualifications, particularly from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Canada. Further, dentists with qualifications from other jurisdictions can obtain an Australian qualification or complete the ADC’s examination procedure. This means that the closure of the PSDWS scheme will not have a substantive impact on the number of OTDs that are able to obtain registrations to practice in Australia.

Further Information —

For further information from ADIA on matters associated with the Public Sector Dental Workforce Scheme send an email to or telephone 1300 943 094.  To keep up to date, follow ADIA on Facebook at or subscribe to the Twitter feed @AusDental.

Currency Of Information & Disclaimer —

This update was issued on 7 September 2018 and please note that changes in circumstances after the publication of material or information may impact upon its accuracy and also change regulatory compliance obligations. The statements, regulatory and technical information contained herein are believed to be accurate and are provided for information purposes only. Readers are responsible for assessing its relevance and verifying the accuracy of the content. To the fullest extent permitted by law, ADIA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in relation to or arising as a result of relying on the information presented here. 

This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, images and where stated.

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