A NORTH-WEST council says a ban on ratepayers having their say over the addition of fluoride to their water supply is undemocratic.
The Kentish Council wants the repeal of laws banning it from asking what residents want.
Section 13 of the Flouridation Act says a council must not hold an elector poll in relation to the addition of fluoride to a public water supply.
The council says repealing the section would allow people to participate in information sharing and debate and to state an informed position through a ballot regarding the routine addition of fluoride to their drinking water.
It has lodged a motion to be debated at the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s July meeting.
Mayor Don Thwaites said the objective of the motion was to make the system more democratic.
“When I saw that part of the law — that councils cannot take the issue to their residents — I thought ‘hang on a minute, that is not how we do things in this country’,” Cr Thwaites said.
“It is time that changed and a more consultative process is put in place to let the people have a vote and a say.”
In October last year, the Barrington water treatment plant which supplies drinking water to Sheffield and Railton was named as providing Australia’s best tasting water.
“Maybe it could be even better,” Cr Thwaites said. “It is important to get community views on the issue.”
The council said supporters of fluoride believe it promotes healthy teeth and gums.
Opponents claim fluoride, when regularly consumed over an extended period of time, is bio-accumulative and can cause adverse effects including dental and sketeltal flouris, arthritic symptoms, bone fractures and may affect the brain and thyroid gland.
The council has previously asked Health Minister Michael Ferguson to send someone from the Flouridation Committee — which makes recommendation’s to the minister under the Act — or the Department of Health to talk to them about the issue.
The Minister has now told the council that Acting Director of Public Health Mark Veitch would attend a meeting. It has yet to be scheduled.
Tasmania became the first state in Australia to add fluoride to the public water supply in Beaconsfield in 1953.
The latest figures show 90 per cent of Tasmanian residents are on mains water from TasWater and 98 per cent of those people have fluoridated water.
Originally published as Council wants a say on water additive
• Original article online at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/kentish-council-asks-government-to-let-it-query-its-residents-over-the-addition-of-fluoride-to-the-water-supply/news-story/2e01caf759ce6b15942782463d97af47