GYMPIE region residents will be denied the chance to make their own decision on continued fluoridation of council water supplies, despite concerns by the Local Government Association of Queensland.
A motion by Cr Ian Petersen to suspend fluoridation pending a referendum, drew ridicule from many councillors and was only supported by Mary Valley councillor Julie Walker.
Mayor Ron Dyne unwittingly accused the Local Government Association of Queensland of pandering to “a noisy minority” on water supply fluoridation.
He appeared surprised when told that the LGAQ strongly opposed mass involuntary medication on ethical grounds.
“We are here because we need to make decisions for the community,” pro-fluoride councillor Mark McDonald said.
“A lot of people don’t even know this discussion is going on. They rely on us,” he said.
He told the last Gympie Regional Council meeting of the year he firmly opposed any change.
“I believe fluoridation is good for the community and good for our children’s teeth,” he said.
Various councillors described anti-fluoridation views as the work of “a noisy minority” and “conspiracy theorists”.
All but two voted to keep adding fluoride to council drinking water supplies, despite the state government’s offer to allow community referenda on the subject.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett called for the council to continue fluoridation pending expert advice.
Cr Wayne Sachs said the council had a responsibility to continue with fluoridation.
Cr Mick Curran said the current policy was supported by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Dental Association.
“We are not conducting compulsory mass medication.
“People have the option of drinking council water.
“They can drink tank water or purchase bottled water,” he said.
Cr Dyne said: “I think there is enough medical evidence to say it benefits children’s teeth. We have an obligation to look after the community,” Cr Dyne said.
“There is a noisy minority that will oppose it and who will oppose immunisation,” he said.
Cr Petersen’s motion called for a referendum. “I am not qualified to decide which scientific argument is correct, but I am qualified to decide that the democratic process should prevail.”
Addressing Cr Dyne he said, “As a member of the LGAQ policy committee you would be aware of the policy position … which states, ‘it is a principle of ethical public health policy that mass involuntary medication must never proceed without the express consent of the community’.”
The motion was lost 7-2.
- First introduced in USA about 60 years ago
- Not used in most European water supplies
- Preventive treatment for tooth decay