BUNDABERG Regional Council has formally agreed to apply to the State Government for exemption from a requirement to fluoridate its water.

Council water and wastewater spokesman Alan Bush, who has long been an opponent of the fluoridation requirement, told a meeting yesterday Premier Campbell Newman had told State Parliament he was prepared to review the issue.

He said communities would be able to decide for themselves if they wanted their water fluoridated.

Cr Bush said the amount of funding to be provided by the State Government towards the cost of the fluoridation fell short of the actual cost to the council.

He said the ongoing cost would be even more significant.

Cr Bush said the council had already spent $174,481 preparing for fluoridation, including design reports and site inspections of the 10 water treatment plants. The fluoridation cost would be $7,785,775, of which the State Government was only prepared to fund about $6.5 million.

Cr Bush said ongoing maintenance costs would be about $818,000 a year, which would add about 4% to the water budget.

“That would put the burden on our water users,” he said.

Cr Bush said with the capital cost the fluoridation would add about 10% to water rates for users.

He said he believed the figures would be enough to show Mr Newman the Bundaberg council deserved an exemption.

Cr Bush said he believed one other council had already applied for and received an exemption from the fluoridation requirement since Mr Newman made his comments in Parliament last week.

Fluoridation became an issue in late 2008 when the Labor government, under then Premier Anna Bligh, decided to force compulsory fluoridation on Queensland councils.