Fluoride Action Network

Cairns councillors handball fluoride issue to the State Government

Source: The Cairns Post | November 23rd, 2016 | By Tom Volling
Location: Australia

A DENTAL expert has dismissed alternative methods of fluoride delivery suggested by Cairns Regional Council, saying they would not be as effective as fluoridating the city’s water supply.

Councillors at yesterday’s ordinary council meeting voted to reaffirm their position not to fluoridate the water supply and called on the Queensland Government to find alternative solutions to delivering fluoride.


James Cook University’s director of clinical dentistry Professor John Abbott said dentists supported water fluoridation because of the scientifically proven health benefits, especially to unborn children.

Prof Abbott said the alternative options were “good ideas”, but could not be controlled or measured, nor did they provide a consistent, safe dose.

“It was like when they were giving milk to schoolchildren. There were no measures and it got too expensive, so they stopped.”

The decision comes after a survey was completed by 6446 people from suburbs within the council’s boundaries that showed 48 per cent of respondents supported fluoride, compared with 39 per cent against.


Division 4 Councillor Terry James presented the motion, which said “oral health is the State Government’s responsibility” and “mass involuntary medication” should not proceed without community consent.

Division 5 Councillor Richie Bates, who was the only councillor to vote against it, said the motion was “weasel words”, because Cr James did not have the “courage” to debate with the medical community.

“It is a cop out to say we are not going to do anything about it because it is a state responsibility,” he said.

“We have run and hid from this matter for too long.”


Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning

“Councils are not engaged in public health. Local Government doesn’t carry that expertise.”

“The senior levels of Government are being quite mischievous here. This has become a pattern over the past couple of years.”

“This council has never voted against fluoride. This council has voted against the method of delivery.”

“Why not have a form of delivery that you can go buy that service. This is not a sledgehammer to just whack everybody over the head with.”

Minister for Health Cameron Dick spokesman.

“The decision to add fluoride to water supplies will remain with local councils.”

“The QLD Government will continue to strongly encourage local communities to adopt fluoridation as an oral health preventive measure.”

“The Premier has also said the Government will look at reintroducing a capped infrastructure grants program for smaller Councils wanting to introduce fluoride into their drinking water.”