INNISFAIL district residents are to be asked if they want fluoride in their water supply during a telephone survey on March 25-28.
A random statistical sample of residents will be telephoned for the independent survey.
The Cairns Regional Council turned off its fluoride supply on Friday after councillors voted to cut the chemical without public consultation.
Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon said residents would be asked several questions.
“They will be asked whether or not they support the introduction of fluoride into the treated water supply for Innisfail, and they will be given the chance to explain why they do or do not want fluoride,” he said.
“The views of residents are important to us. The results of this survey will be a valuable source of information for council in deciding whether or not to introduce fluoride into the Innisfail water supply.”
Water supply portfolio holder Cr Bryce Macdonald said the topic of fluoride had generated strong and opposing views from Cassowary Coast residents since the State Government gave Queensland councils the option to decide whether fluoride was added to their water supplies.
“Because this is such a divisive issue council believes the best way to gauge opinion on a district level is via an independent telephone survey,” he said.
“The independent survey will be based on a random statistical sample of residents within the Innisfail water supply area.
“This will be considered as part of council’s decision-making process, as will the views of many people who phone, email and write to councillors and council.”
The council is currently exempt from adding fluoride to its other water supplies for a number of operational reasons. These include the susceptibility of the Tully, Nyleta and Cardwell schemes to becoming isolated in heavy rainfall, preventing officers from undertaking the required daily water tests for fluoridated systems.
The council is making a decision on the Innisfail water supply because an Act brought in by the former state government, requiring Queensland councils to add fluoride to public potable water supplies, has been revisited by the current State Government.
The former state government completely funded the installation of fluoride equipment at the new Innisfail water treatment plant. However, the current State Government made changes to the Act, giving councils the option to decide whether to introduce fluoridation. Given the situation, the new equipment has not been used.
An information sheet on fluoride has been added to the council’s website at cassowarycoast.qld.gov.au in the lead-up to the telephone survey, and can be read in conjunction with many other resources on fluoridation