ADDING fluoride to the Cairns water supply is back on the table after a city councillor hijacked an innocuous agenda item to put the issue front and centre at the first meeting of the newly-elected Cairns Regional Council.
Division 5 Councillor Richie Bates raised the fluoride issue in the council’s ordinary meeting yesterday to the apparent surprise of other councillors, including his fellow Cairns Unity Team members.
Councillors were discussing an existing memorandum of understanding between the council and James Cook University when Cr Bates saw his opportunity.
“There is a world of expertise and knowledge and understanding at JCU that we should be tapping into and using and indeed we do that,” he said.
“But it’s important that it doesn’t become lip service and that we take this advice seriously when we get it.”
Cr Bates pointed to consistent advice from the JCU Faculty of Dentistry that supported reintroducing fluoride to the Cairns water supply.
“This is one of the most important and significant things we can do in terms of preventable community health,” he said.
“If we’re fair dinkum about supporting our community and indeed building our relationship with JCU we should be taking this advice and putting it into action.”
After the meeting, Mayor Bob Manning told the Cairns Post the introduction of fluoride needed to be investigated by Queensland Health.
“My view has always been that fluoride is a plus,” he said.
“But the state and the feds (Federal Government) ought to be prepared to face up to their responsibilities on this.”
State Government legislation dictates that each local government in Queensland is able to make the decision whether or not to add fluoride to their water supplies.