CAIRNS regional councillors have gone out of their way to dodge advice on the controversial fluoride issue despite an official request by the region’s health professionals.
The council held its ordinary meeting at Babinda RSL Memorial Hall yesterday before a sizeable public gallery.
Councillors were happy to discuss a number of local agenda items, including updates about the success of the Babinda Harvest Festival, Gordonvale’s Great Pyramid Race and new economic development plans for the two towns.
But the mood changed when the issue of fluoride was raised toward the end of the meeting.
The council was presented with a petition from the newly revived Cairns Local Medical Association in support of water fluoridation. It was signed by 134 health professionals, including about 80 doctors, who were imploring the councillors to listen to scientific evidence about fluoridation.
Upon receipt of a public petition the council has three options: to receive the petition, to receive it and request a report back from council officers, or to “not receive” the document.
A resolution to receive the petition and request a report back from officers had been prepared before yesterday’s meeting.
But Division 2 Councillor John Schilling changed the resolution to strike out the request for a report by officers.
His change was supported by his fellow councillors, except for councillors Richie Bates and Brett Moller and Mayor Bob Manning, who said the petition deserved a report back from officers. But the three were outvoted.
Minutes later councillors were presented with two more petitions concerning suburban road infrastructure changes. They were accepted and will be formally responded to by officers.
Cr Bates said the move by Cr Schilling and the subsequent vote was a “slap in the face” for Cairns medical professionals.
“The majority of councillors have voted to receive the petition and then throw it straight in the bin,” he said.
“The two other petitions tabled today had officer reports requested so their substance could be investigated and considered. It is dumbfounding that councillors could not apply the same standard to the petition from medical practitioners.”