Fluoride Action Network

Mareeba to get a say on fluoride future

Source: The Cairns Post | July 27th, 2012 | By Kylie Reghenzani
Location: Australia

A SURVEY will be sent to all Mareeba residents who use the town’s water in a bid to gauge whether or not the community wants a new fluoridated water supply.

Tablelands Regional Council will mail out the surveys late next week to about 6000 homes hooked up to Mareeba water.

The survey will also detail the cost of the plant. An upgrade will cost $1.2 million. The State Government has offered to contribute $774,000, which leaves council a shortfall of $441,000.

The survey will also lay out the ongoing operational and maintenance costs of the plant, which will be an extra 1.5c per kilolitre.

It will give residents an overview of the treatment plant in terms of why fluoride was stopped three years ago, after first being introduced to Mareeba’s water in the 1970s. In 2007, former Premier Anna Bligh announced fluoridation of most of Queensland’s water supplies would start in 2008, making Queensland the last state to formally require the addition of fluoride to drinking water.

This week at Kuranda, residents handed Member for Barron River Michael Trout more than 800 mandates for him to take to Parliament.

Mr Trout said he was happy to take residents’ concerns to Premier Campbell Newman.

“There were some parts of Barron River that did not have fluoride,” Mr Trout said.

“I was lobbied very hard (about this) and I have taken it seriously.

“The Premier has said the power will come back to local councils and this is the first test of that and we will present them (mandates) to the Premier.

“This is a democratic way of looking at this issue.”

Mayor Rosa Lee Long was also at the event and said she supported residents having a choice.

“People want a choice and they don’t want it forced undemocratically upon them,” Ms Lee Long said.

“The ongoing costs to the whole community are something that we cannot afford.”

Kuranda and Tablelands Community Action Network co-ordinator Kiah Williams said people needed to have a say about their own health and must be given a choice about fluoride.

She likened the ongoing fluoride debate to a relay. “We feel like we have crossed the line now,” Ms Williams said.

“We have passed the baton around the community and taken it from those who feel they could not do anymore and just kept it going.

“Until we stop fluoride, we won’t stop getting mandates.”

Kuranda resident Hannah Wattel said she was happy that Mr Trout had listened to the community.

“It means that we do have some freedom again,” Ms Wattel said.

“And it also means that we have a say and that’s beautiful.”

The survey on fluoride will be posted only to residents connected to Mareeba town water and must be returned by August 10. The surveys will not be available from council offices.