AS we wave goodbye to 2008, the introduction of fluoridated drinking water heads a raft of reforms pioneered by the Bligh Government that will impact on Mackay residents in 2009.
From today dangerous drivers will face tougher penalties, drinking alcohol and playing pokies before breakfast at the local will be a thing of the past and the highly-contentious fluoridation of our drinking water will become a reality.
Yesterday premier Anna Bligh announced her commitment to add fluoride to Mackay’s Nebo Road water treatment plant before the year’s end.
It follows the rollout of fluoride to 80 per cent of South East Queensland last month.
Already in Mackay, people concerned about fluoride are rushing to line-up water filter systems.
Dowdens Plumbing Retail sales manager Allan Crofts said he had taken plenty of calls from people wanting information on products that remove fluoride from water.
“When people call we tell them about a reverse osmosis filter system that fits under your sink,” he said.
“It removes 95 per cent of fluoride and almost all of any other chemical that residents may be concerned about.”
Mr Crofts said the systems costed around $600 but gave people peace of mind.
Health Minister Stephen Robertson said while there was some minority opposition to fluoride, suggestions fluoridation posed a health risk were unfounded.
“Queenslanders can be very secure in the knowledge that fluoride is not only safe, but a key ingredient to good oral health,” he said.
Mackay Division of General Practice CEO Christian Grieves said the long-term benefits of fluoride would be great.
Queensland’s level of tooth decay was the worst in the nation with decay affecting half Queensland children by the age of six
Many GP’s were impacted on by patients with poor oral health.
“GP’s see a lot of patients after hours, who are in pain because of poor oral health, because of an under supply of dentists,” he said.
Under the changes to the Queensland’s Liquor Act from today no hotel will serve alcohol from 7am.
The earliest they can serve alcohol is 9am and this is only with specific Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing approval – otherwise its 10am.
The crackdown on drivers caught speeding, not wearing seatbelts or using mobiles will hit hip-pockets.
Drivers caught using a mobile phone now cop a $225 fine, but that will increase to $300 plus three demerit points for a first offence.