Cairns councillors have turned down the chance to hear from dental experts regarding water fluoridation at an ordinary meeting this week.
Division Five Councillor Richie Bates proposed James Cook University’s dental faculty present fluoridation research via resolution to full council on Wednesday.
But none of the other eight councillors seconded the motion causing it to lapse.
Cr Bates says he is ‘staggered’ that no other councillors wanted to seek advice from the region’s peak dental health authority.
“Today’s resolution was not about adopting fluoride, but rather seeking scientific evidence and information about its impact,” Cr Bates says.
“It’s hard to believe that not one other Councillor was even prepared to listen to the experts in the field.”
JCU’s head of dentistry Dr Neil Meredith says he has had little interaction with Cairns Regional Council regarding fluoridation.
“I certainly haven’t had any correspondence from the council at all,” Dr Meredith says.
“I’m very disappointed for a number of reasons.
“Mayor Manning has said that the answer is in the science and they’re not even prepared to listen to the science.
“The university has a Memorandum of Understanding with the council to help them make informed decisions but they’re clearly not interested.
“What I would do is present them with a summary of the overwhelming information on the benefit of fluoride for children and adults.”
Dr Meredith, who is currently in Paris as the keynote speak at a major dental conference, says Cairns Regional Council should take a leadership role in the hope that other councils across far north Queensland following their example.
“Cairns is the centre of delivery of health care across far north Queensland,” he says.
“What is quite obvious to us in the [JCU-run] school of dentistry is that we can immediately tell whether people have come from fluoridated areas when they come see us.
“It is that extreme.
The snub follows Mackay councillors’ decision to stop fluoridating their public water supply.
Just 24 of the state’s 77 councils now fluoridate their water.
Health Minister Cameron Dick says the current State Government won’t influence regional councils’ decisions.
“That decision is made now by local governments,” Mr Dick says.
“There are benefits that come from fluoridation. That is clear.
“But we made our position clear as a government at the election that we would allow councils to make that decision for Queenslanders.”
Aurukun and Cook Shire Council are the only far north Queensland councils that currently fluoridate their water supply.