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NDF History

The National Dental Foundation was created and founded in October 2004 by Mervin Saultry and funded by his company Dental Innovations Pty Ltd from 2004 through to 2012.

On 1st July 2012 Mervin resigned from the NDF Board to enable the direct involvement of the Australian Dental Association and to ensure its continuance beyond his tenure.

The NDF was incorporated on 14th October 2004 by Mervin Saultry with the assistance of Freehills who he approached with his NDF concept plan and vision. Freehills assessed its merit and agreed to provide extensive pro bono services.

The NDF began its charity operations in February 2005 in Victoria when Mervin Saultry recruited Dr John Osborne –Mornington as the Victorian State Chairman. John held three NDF charity days in 2005. Current Victorian Chairman is Dr Peter Waltham who took over the Victorian State Chairman role in 2011.

The next appointed State was WA under a committee led by Dr Dominic Faraone – they too held NDF charity days in 2005. Later Dr Dennis Gregory accepted the challenge to lead WA.

In 2006 Dr David Digges, NSW who was already working with a charity caring for street kids and homeless people was approached and introduced to the NDF concept and invited to join the NDF as State Chairman for NSW. Dr Digges assisted in overcoming the fragmentation of volunteer dental work so that it could become more efficient and attract resources for large scale charity work by dentists. He achieved this and also progressed to become the NDF Chairman.

Next on board was Dr Chris Hart who agreed to accept the role of Qld State Chairman. In 2012 Dr Julie Birch took over as the Qld State Chairman.

The next recruitment was Dr Michael Ryan as ACT Chairman.

Finally, came SA under the leadership of Dr Henry Gilkes and Dr Robert South.

In 2012, following recognition by the Federal Government of the value that the dental industry was delivering to the disadvantaged people across Australia, a Government Grant of $150,000 pa. for three years was made to enable the NDF to expand its activities.

In 2015, Pacific Smiles Group was proud to announce it had become the Major Sponsor of the National Dental Foundation for the next three years, ensuring that the NDF is able to continue coordinating much needed pro bono dental treatment to those who may not otherwise be able to access dental care. To date, over 5,000 patients have benefitted from the NDF’s initiatives, with dental practices, practitioners and staff volunteering their facilities, equipment and time to assist those who need it most.

These funds enabled the appointment of a National Coordinator for the NDF who, with administration and financial support from the Federal ADA, coordinates the activites of the NDF.