A WATER war has erupted between the region’s politicians over the impending addition of fluoride to the city’s water supply.
State Upper House Democratic Labor Party member Peter Kavanagh has written to Premier John Brumby complaining that fluoride was being foisted upon the region without a local referendum to decide the issue.
“I must state that there are reasons favouring fluoridation but also a growing body of evidence which suggests the need to be very cautious,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“Whatever the merits of the argument however, genuine democracy surely demands that wherever practicable, local people decide issues which affect them.”
But state parliamentary secretary for water Michael Crutchfield said Mr Kavanagh was making a ridiculous argument.
“There is no body of evidence to say fluoride is harmful,” the Member for South Barwon said.
“Peter Kavanagh struggles for credibility at the best of times, this is another example of a desperate attempt to seek publicity,”
Mr Crutchfield said there was not “one iota of credible evidence” to suggest that fluoride was a danger to public health.
“Our most vulnerable people, our children, are being penalised as a community by not having fluoride in the water. It is a public health disgrace,” he said.
“Fluoridation of the water supply has bipartisan support and I intend to personally ensure that Geelong has fluoride in the water as soon as possible. Our children deserve it.”
Fluoride will be added to Geelong’s water under a State Government plan to pipe up to 16 billion litres to the region.
This would equal about half the volume of water used each year in the greater Geelong region.
Construction of the 50km pipeline is due to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2011.