Cairns Regional Council has voted to cease fluoridation of water supplies, it announced this week. The decision comes as a result of legislative changes last year to the Queensland Government’s Water Fluoridation Act 2008. Specifically, that act was reversed by The South-East Queensland Water (Restructuring) Amendment Bill, passed by Parliament in November 2012, which gave local governments the right to decide whether fluoride should be introduced into their drinking water.
Despite representations by the dental profession indicating the scientific support for fluoridation, Cairns mayor Bob Manning said the council’s decision was supporting a policy established by the Local Government Association Queensland (LGAQ).
“In the LGAQ’s statement, it recognises that involuntary medication must not proceed without the consent of the community,” Cr Manning said in a press release.
“The policy states that express consent of the community should be sought before entering into a process such as fluoridation; and that oral health is a responsibility of the State Government and, as such, any financial burden should remain with the State.
“We back these sentiments and have chosen to cease fluoridation in accordance with the LGAQ’s position.”
The council said fluoridation currently costs about $300,000 in chemicals, staffing, testing, electricity and infrastructure.
Changes to treatment plant operations to remove fluoride dosing will occur by February 13, 2013, and associated infrastructure will be re-deployed into other operations, where possible.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has said he personally supports fluoridation, but the issue was about restoring councils’ right to decide.
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