Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has defended his department’s decision to write to councils touting the benefits of water fluoridation.
The State Government has recently given councils the power to stop putting fluoride in the water.
However, the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has implored councils not to be swayed by the anti-fluoride lobby.
The Local Government Association (LGAQ) says Queensland Health is wrongly intervening, but Mr Springborg says it is entirely appropriate.
“What we want to do is to actually make people aware that they do have that flexibility of choice, but to also understand that there are positive benefits of actually having fluoridation in our water supply,” Mr Springborg said.
“That’s totally appropriate from a Queensland Health perspective to encourage councils to consider that fact as a part of their decision-making process.”
The LGAQ’s Greg Hallam says Queensland Health’s comments are not necessary.
“We are not needing to be advised on these matters – councils have already well advised by their own environmental health officers and there’s been an enormous amount of information in the community now for a number of years,” Mr Hallam said.
“It just seems quite strange that Health would buy into this when the Cabinet has made a decision that it is a council matter.”
Former President of the Dental Association Doctor Greg Moore says the decision is too important to leave to councils.
“It’s just such a difficult thing to imagine that a public health issue like fluoridation is allowed to become a political football,” Dr Moore said.