BUNDABERG Regional Council was the only local authority to address an important parliamentary committee last week in its fight against the compulsory fluoridation of its drinking water.
Council water and wastewater spokesman Alan Bush and CEO Peter Byrne flew to Brisbane on Friday to meet the parliament’s finance advisory committee.
Cr Bush said he believed the worst case scenario out of the meeting was that the cost of building the fluoridation infrastructure would be fully funded by the State Government.
“That’s the way the meeting went,” he said.
“I would be very disappointed if that didn’t happen.”
Cr Bush has been a strong campaigner against the State Government’s legislation to force councils to fluoridate their water.
He has argued the council could not afford the $1.3 million it would have to pay as its share to set up the $7.8 million infrastructure, as well as the estimated $800,000 a year it would cost to run the scheme.
Cr Bush said the Bundaberg delegation was the only Queensland local government to address the committee at its meeting.
“There were six or seven state politicians on the committee,” he said.
“You go into the committee and tell your story, and they ask questions about where you’re at.”
Cr Bush said among the questions the committee asked was whether the council would be happy if the State Government paid the full costs of the infrastructure.
“I said no because the costs of running it after they put the infrastructure in would be about the same as in Brisbane,” he said.
But Cr Bush said he had not given up hope Bundaberg would be exempt from having to fluoridate its drinking water.
“I told them if we had to put $1.3 million into the infrastructure we would have to compromise of some of our other works,” he said.
Cr Bush said there was no big push from people in the Bundaberg region to have their water fluoridated.
“I believe if we had a referendum nine out of 10 people would say they didn’t want it,” he said.
“If people knew all the facts about the cost of it that’s the result we would get.”
Under the latest amendments to the Local Government Act, announced last week, councils have been given the right to hold a referendum