COOK Shire Council will continue to add fluoride to Cooktown’s water supply until the next council elections, following a majority vote to continue the practice at Tuesday’s meeting.
However, council will apply to the Queensland Electoral Commission for a local referendum to be held, “allowing all parties who reside in Cooktown to vote for or against fluoridation of Cooktown Water Supply”.
Prior to Tuesday, Councillors had been provided with a report on last Tuesday’s public forum at the PCYC Cooktown Events Centre as well as having the capacity to view a video that had been taken of the event.
With the exception of Mayor Peter Scott (who was at a meeting on the Queensland Plan in Brisbane) and Cr Glen Shepherd who was unable to attend, council had been fully represented at the forum by Deputy Mayor Penny Johnson and Crs Kaz Price, Alan Wilson, Sue Clark and Russell Bowman.
The motion passed on Tuesday reads as follows:
“That Cook Shire Council continues to maintain the implementation of Fluoride as per the requirements under the Water Fluoridation Act “Water Fluoridation Regulation 2008” and Water Fluoridation “Code of Practice Revision Sept 2010” as per recommendations from the World Health Organisation, Australian Dental Association and Queensland Health and that Council make application to the Queensland Electoral Commission that at the next Council election a referendum be held allowing all parties who reside in Cooktown to vote for or against fluoridation of Cooktown Water Supply.”
Mayor Peter Scott told council and the audience in the pubic gallery, that votes cast on subjects like water fluoridation were very often a “judgement call” but they had been elected by the community to make decisions they believed to be in the best interest of the majority.
Safe Water for Cooktown representative, Rhonda-Joy Holland said she was disappointed by the outcome, but was not surprised by it.
“Having read the report that was submitted to Councillors about last week’s Forum, I expected the vote to go that way,” Ms Holland said.
However, she said she was happy that the efforts of the local band of volunteers who struck a petition against the addition of fluoride to Cooktown’s water supply had expanded the knowledge of the subject of the broader community.
“We’ve all been unpaid volunteers, going to the markets every week with the petition and answering questions about the negative aspects of fluoridation,” she said.
“Do you know that there were people who didn’t even know that fluoride is added to our water here?”
Ms Holland said she was looking forward to a referendum on the subject being held before the next council elections.
“Hopefully, people will continue to broaden their knowledge on the subject,” she said.
“I’m sure there could be a different result by then.”
But will Tuesday’s vote discourage the group in its campaign to have a choice about what goes into the water being consumed here?
“We’re not going away,” she warned.