Townsville will be the only major Queensland regional centre outside the south-east to fluoridate its water, after Mackay voted narrowly today to stop adding fluoride to its drinking supply, following the same decision by Gladstone in July.
The issue was a divisive one for the Mackay Regional Council with six councillors voting to end fluoridation and five voting to continue.
Mayor Greg Williamson said it was the right move after months of surveys and public forums.
“Everybody made a decision based on their research and the people that they’ve spoken to along the way,” he said.
“For me the decision was that everybody I’ve spoken to, all the groups, I’ve spoken to, wanted it removed from the water supply.
“As a local council public health is not our domain. We should not be in this position but we are and so we had to make a decision.”
The decision by Mackay and Gladstone means fluoridation will continue in only 24 of the state’s 77 councils, most of them in the south east.
Last year the ABC reported on the increasing number of councils which had acted on the decision by the previous LNP government to make fluoride optional, after Labor made it compulsory in 2007.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said the current Labor Government would not revisit the issue.
“That decision is made now by local governments,” he said.
“There are benefits that come from fluoridation. That is clear.
“But we made our position clear as a government at the election that we would allow councils to make that decision for Queenslanders.”
List of councils continuing with fluoride:
- Central Highlands
- Gold Coast
- Lockyer Valley
- Moreton Bay
- Scenic Rim
- Sunshine Coast
- Western Downs