Fluoride Action Network

Campbell Newman gives councils responsibility for fluoridation

Source: The Australian | December 10th, 2012 | By Sarah Vogle, The Courier-Mail
Location: Australia

PREMIER Campbell Newman says he supports fluoridation but councils should be able to decide if it is in their water supply not the State Government.

It is one of a number of decisions and powers handed back to local government since the Newman Government took office in April.

During the election, Mr Newman campaigned on a platform of empowering councils and removing some decision-making from the state.

A spokeswoman for Mr Newman said the decision to give councils responsibility for fluoridation was part of his belief that power, resources and authority should be returned to local government.

The State Government has so far handed back to councils planning powers which were part of the now defunct Urban Land Development Authority and has overhauled the Local Government Act to limit state interference in council business.

Mr Newman also signed a Partners in Government agreement, which means the Government must consult with councils on decisions affecting them and will today begin the process of giving South Bank and Roma Street Parkland to Brisbane City Council.

The spokeswoman said on fluoride, Mr Newman “also believes local communities should have their say on the issue which is why we introduced amendments to the laws to empower councils to make their own decisions”.

It comes after LNP backbencher and staunch anti-fluoride campaigner Jason Woodforth claimed he had the support of at least 31 party room members who believe the program should be scrapped.

LNP ministers yesterday lined up to support fluoridation, including Mr Newman, Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney who said science backed it.

Despite their firm support, they did not believe it should be mandatory.

“The scientific evidence supporting the benefits of fluoridation is clear and I encourage local councils to retain it in their water supply,” Mr Seeney said.

Water Minister Mark McArdle, National Parks Minister Steve Dickson and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli were among those who said they supported fluoridation.

Mr Crisafulli said he would be surprised if anyone could find evidence the additive had caused problems.

“We do support fluoride in the water supply,” he said. “I represent a city that has had fluoride in its water supply for around half a century and I would defy anybody to challenge either the dental or physical health of people of Townsville.

“This government’s underlying philosophy is that local communities need to be able to respond to issues on a case-by-case basis and that’s been the whole intent of the changes to the Local Government Act.”