FLUORIDE will not be forced on the region’s outlying communities in a move that could prevent millions of dollars being wasted on water no one drinks.
Two years ago, Toowoomba Regional Council started adding fluoride to Toowoomba’s water supply under a compulsory State Government scheme.
Council was in the process of planning how it would do the same to water supplies in Clifton, Wyreema, Crows Nest, Highfields, Pittsworth and Brookstead.
That was expected to cost $3.1 million upfront and millions of dollars over its lifetime in terms of ongoing operational costs.
But Premier Campbell Newman has scrapped the compulsory scheme, announcing communities could now decide for themselves whether they wanted their water fluoridated.
“Certainly, we would not be removing it from any location where it exists already, but the idea of forcing certain communities right now to put it in and incur the cost, that is something I am more than happy to have a look at,” Mr Newman said.
“What the former premier Anna Bligh did was, as usual, impose costs on ratepayers through local communities.
“It is very expensive infrastructure and there are ongoing operating costs, and particularly if the communities were against it.”
Clifton and District Progress Association president Maryann Bifdee said it would not have made sense to fluoridate the town’s water as most residents did not drink it.
“The majority of town drink tank water because the town water is bore water,” Mrs Bifdee said.
“It would have been a waste.”
Water and Waste Projects spokeswoman Cr Nancy Sommerfield said council had been preparing to take the project to the market.
“This can now go on hold,” she said.
Cr Sommerfield said council would now go to district communities to ask residents if they wanted fluoride in their drinking supplies.
“Council can now confidently engage our communities and hear their voices in this discussion, so that we can arrive at an outcome that is the best fit for residents,” she said.