Anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack has vowed to keep fighting to stop the introduction of fluoride into the region’s water supply, despite a ruling against him by the Land and Environment Court last week.
In handing down her ruling in favour of Rous Water and Ballina Council, Justice Pepper awarded costs against Mr Oshlack, saying his appeal had been “unsuccessful on all of his grounds of review”.
Rous Water chairman and Ballina Mayor Phillip Silver welcomed the court’s ruling.
“I’m a bit disappointed that the NSW Department of Health have been conspicuous by their absence through this entire process, leaving local government to do the heavy lifting. We’re not actually in the dental health business; we’re just trying to comply with a direction under the Fluoride Act,” Cr Silver said.
“But I’m not backing down on the use of fluoride. I believe it’s safe and effective and I believe most of the community does too. I think the opponents of fluoride should speak to health workers… who see people with decayed mouths living a lifetime of suffering.”
Cr Silver said he hoped they could begin the tender process and have the fluoride dosing plants at Corndale, Clunes, Dorroughby, Knockrow and Marom Creek built within 12 months.
But Mr Oshlack told The Echo he intends to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal, which could tie the matter up for the rest of the year.
It has been nearly six years since Lismore Council voted to add fluoride to its drinking water supply, and three years since Ballina did. In April 2010 Rous Water Council needed to vote on adding fluoride to the water supply before the dosing plants could be built. It turned on the vote of Councillor David Yarnall who said at the time he felt coerced into voting in favour after being presented with a legal opinion that councillors could be fined $500 a day if they continued to delay the approval.
Mr Oshlack then commenced legal proceedings against Rous Water and Ballina Council (who would build and operate the Marom Creek facility).
“People in this community must stand strong against this insidious poison they are seeking to place into our water supply,” Mr Oshlack said.
“There is growing evidence from China, America and Europe that fluoridisation over the last 40 years has caused quite a few serious medical conditions to the kidney, bowels and brain, not withstanding new evidence that fluoride is actually causing damage to healthy teeth and gums.”
He said some countries were now removing fluoride from their water supplies.
“It is not the role of a water supply authority to engage in medicating the entire population. We need a dental health campaign, not fluoride in our drinking water,” Mr Oshlack said.
He called on Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell to have another poll at the September elections, alongside the coal seam gas one.
“The people of Lismore have never had an opportunity to vote for this (fluoride). Let’s put it to vote.”
Mayor Dowell said she would not support such a poll.
“It would have to come from a councillor to put up a proposal… but the date for proposing a poll to the Division of Local Government has expired, so it’s too late,” she said.