A PETITION calling for a community referendum on the addition of fluoride to Mount Gambier’s drinking water will be presented to State Government next week.
Anti-fluoride group Choice Mount Gambier yesterday presented MP Don Pegler with a petition signed by more than 6600 residents, which Mr Pegler has vowed to present to government when parliament resumes on May 25.
Alex Young, from Choice Mount Gambier, yesterday handed the petition to Mr Pegler, emphasising that the petition was about residents having the right to choose whether they wanted fluoride added to their water supply or not.
With the fluoridation plant next to the Blue Lake only weeks from completion, Mr Young called on the government to stop the process until the community has voted on the issue.
“We ask for the plant to be halted until a community poll or referendum is held,” Mr Young said.
“We want this to be dealt with in a fair manner?—?whether the community want or don’t want fluoride in their water, we expect the government to uphold referendum results.”
Mr Young said residents had a choice whether they wanted to smoke or consume alcohol, but have not been given a choice on the addition of fluoride to their drinking water.
“Some of the people that signed the petition are in favour of fluoride in their water, but this is about the right to have a choice and not to have government forcing us,” he said.
Choice Mount Gambier started collecting signatures for the petition shortly after 120 anti-fluoride protesters marched down Commercial Street in January, asking authorities not to add “another poisonous chemical to our drinking water”.
Mr Young said 6600 signatures represented a significant portion of the Mount Gambier community.
“If 6600 people cannot be given a choice on this consumer issue, then there is something seriously wrong with our democracy,” he said.
Mr Pegler said a proper process to present petitions was in place and he would follow the procedure.
“I will present it to parliament and let you know,” Mr Pegler said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Water SA has told The Border Watch that construction work on the fluoridation plant was progressing well with the brickwork for the building of the plant underway.
“We anticipate residents of Mount Gambier will start receiving a fluoridated water supply during August, but the community will be advised prior to the project’s completion,” the spokesperson said.
SA Health water quality advisor Dr David Cunliffe has on numerous occasions expressed his support for the project as a way of improving dental health in the community.
“Around 90pc of South Australians already use fluoridated water,” Dr Cunliffe said.
“It’s the most effective way to allow everyone access to fluoride to help protect their teeth.”