HEALTH Minister David Davis has accused western suburbs MPs of letting down the people of the west on dental health care.
But he refused to commit funding for Footscray's decaying dental clinic in the Coalition's current term of office.
The state government failed to fund a much-needed upgrade of the Western Region Health Centre's Geelong Road clinic in the 2012-13 budget.
The antiquated clinic provides emergency and general dental care to some of the community's most vulnerable, including refugees, mentally ill and homeless people who would not be able to access treatment elsewhere.
But staff have to battle ageing equipment and cramped conditions.
This month the clinic has had to temporarily suspend services after an equipment failure.
About 2500 people are on a waiting list for care at WRHC.
A taskforce chaired by Liberal MP Andrew Elsbury put its report with recommendations to the minister in March.
Mr Davis turned the heat on Labor MPs who, he said, were silent during their term in power.
"They were silent as church mice and they did not complain ... and did not take any action or allocate any money to get a solution for the problems at Western [Region Health Centre's dental clinic] and the fabric of the building," Mr Davis said. "I want to be harsh and critical about people in the western suburbs, [those] members of Parliament who let their people down."
Asked if the Coalition would fund a long-term solution in its current term of government, Mr Davis told the Weekly the report came late in the budget cycle, but it provided a "road map" for dental services in the western region of the city.
"I'm very conscious of the need. I'm critical of the delay for 11 years and the failure to do anything over that period, but now we've taken action and I will be making further statements quite shortly." Footscray MP Marsha Thomson said Mr Davis's accusation was false. "There was money promised by the Labor government to be delivered if we won office in 2010. I have no doubt that there would've been money in last year's budget for the dental clinic. It was a commitment we made. It was pre-announced and would have been done." -