BUNDABERG health professionals are planning a campaign to protest against Bundaberg Regional Council’s anti-fluoride stance, as concerns emerge about future government funding if the council changes its mind on the issue.
Bundaberg Health Promotions chairman Dr Martin Strahan said he was among a number of health professionals in the region who wanted to push the benefits of fluoridation with the council.
Dr Strahan said the medicos wanted to challenge the idea that “half of health professionals” were against fluoridation, as previously stated by council water spokesman Alan Bush.
“We think health professionals are firmly in favour of it,” he said.
Dr Daud Yunus, who is leading the campaign for fluoridation, said he planned to provide as much information to the public as possible so they could make an informed decision.
“We will have seminars from health experts and an open forum for discussion,” he said.
Dr Yunus said it was rare for so many health groups to unite so vehemently on an issue.
“This should make the public and the council take notice,” he said.
Mayor Mal Forman said the council had until the end of June 2014 to access 100% of funding for fluoride dosing technology.
“The council will consider a range of issues relating to fluoridation and among those could be the practicality and costs of undertaking a referendum on the fluoridation issue,” he said.
Cr Forman said the council was receiving constant advice from the Local Government Association of Queensland to help in its decision.
“Council is likely to make a formal determination in the new year,” he said.
Cr Forman said the council had maintained a strong anti-fluoride stance due to the financial burden, because the State Government subsidy would still fall $1.4 million short of the total cost.
But Dr Strahan said the financial burden would be greater if the council delayed its decision until after June 2014.
“Then the council would have to pay 100% of the costs,” Dr Strahan said.
A parliamentary committee report from November 2012 on fluoridation also said the council had had admitted it would have “major financial issues” if it had to finance fluoridation without government funding.