The results of Bellingen’s Shire’s firm no vote to fluoridation have been forwarded to the state’s director general of health.
More than 70 per cent of those responding to the voluntary mail poll voted against having the chemical in their drinking water.
The area health service has declined to comment on the results, saying it would be inappropriate before director general Ronyn Kruk decides whether to fluoridate.
Plans to fluoridate the Hastings, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour supplies are proceeding, but the decision to add the chemical or not to the Bellingen water supply was put on hold pending community consultation.
The results of the plebiscite are not binding on the department and more than 60 of the shire’s eligible voters did not respond.
Mayor Mark Troy says he is disappointed with the response, but the no vote was expected.
The Mayor says it is the way residents traditionally vote at referendums.
PRESS RELEASE from LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS in BELLINGEN:
Residents of Bellingen Shire have voted resoundingly against the fluoridation of their town water supplies.
More than 71% of the valid votes received indicated opposition to the proposal to introduce fluoride into town water supplies, whilst less than 29% indicated support for the proposal.
Those involved in the local campaign against fluoridation are greatly pleased with the result, considering it to be a vindication of their efforts.
Although not legally binding on NSW Health, the result sends a clear message to this department that there is strong community opposition to fluoridation.
Local campaigners believe that this opposition is not confined to the Bellingen Shire, but extends to the other shires on the Mid North Coast where fluoridation is also being proposed.
“We are now calling on Bellingen Shire Council to not just forward the results onto the Director General of NSW Health, but to pass a motion in support of this clear community decision to reject fluoridation”, said spokesman Anton Ingarfield.