Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride decision ripple effect on Ballina Shire

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | August 14th, 2013
Location: Australia

A Ballina Shire Councillor is ready to follow the Lismore City Council on a decision not to fluoridate the local water supply.

Lismore City Council says it won’t go ahead with fluoridation of its water supply.

On Tuesday night the council voted six – four to reverse an earlier decision to dose the supply with fluoride.

The debate has been one of controversy with a High Court decision in June finding in favour of councils having the right to fluoridate the north coast supply.

The mayor of Lismore said it was mostly public opinion which prompted the council’s decision to change its stance on the issue.

“In the opinion of the lawyer councils did have the opportunity to say no but I think most of the reasons were councillors felt there were too many unanswered questions, ideas that this was mass medication, imposing something in the drinking water that many people did not want,” she said.

Councillor Dowell said that Councillor Vanessa Ekins moved the motion based on the lack of evidence of community support for fluoridation.

That could now have consequences across the region.

At Ballina, Councillor Keith Williams said he will now propose a similar motion and that Lismore’s decision had given him the encouragement to make the move.

“I think council ultimately has a responsibility to provide clean safe drinking water and I think the decision about fluoride is actually quite a separate role to that and that’s about a medication program and I am not comfortable that we are really in a position to make that decision,” he said.

He said public sentiment is also behind his motion.

“I was probably approached by more people about this issue than any other single thing during the recent council election. It made me think about the issue a lot more than I probably had before and I suppose I’ve come down on an ethical stance which leaves me feeling concerned about it,” Councillor Williams said.

Tune in to ABC north coast on Thursday morning for more views on the fluoridation debate.