NSW Minister for Health John Hatzistergos today officially opened the Moree Plains Shire Council Fluoridation Plant.

Mr Hatzistergos said the official opening of the plant provided the ideal opportunity to highlight the benefits of water fluoridation as a preventative oral health measure that can reduce dental decay in children by up to 60 per cent.

“I applaud the courage and leadership of the Mayor, the Moree Plains Shire Council and the Moree community on this issue and am hopeful that the councils in Gunnedah and Narrabri will follow their lead for the benefit of their communities,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

“The process of fluoridation is endorsed by many peak bodies including the World Health Organisation and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

“Ninety per cent of the NSW population drink fluoridated water.

“Fluoridated water reduces the likelihood of gum disease, which is considered to be a risk factor for heart disease.

“We will continue to fund 100 per cent of the capital cost associated with any council’s decision to fluoridate its public water supplies,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

Moree Plains Shire Mayor, Councillor John Tramby said fluoride will have a major benefit to the children of the Shire.

“For five year old children, Moree has more than two and a half times the average decay rate for NSW, according to the Australian Research Centre figures,” Cr Tramby said.

“This rate is twice the decay rate of nearby towns in the region like Tamworth and Inverell, who have fluoridated water supplies.

“Fluoridation will also mean that fewer children will require hospitalisation for removal and restoration of decayed teeth as the benefits are realised over the next five years,” he said.

The official opening of the Moree Fluoridation Plant coincides with the 50th anniversary of the introduction of fluoride into the water supply of the first town in NSW, Yass.

Three modern dosing plants have now been put in place in Moree and dosing plants have also been installed at Mungindi, Boggabilla and Pallamallawa by the Council’s staff.

Specialist training has been given to the Council’s Water Operations staff to install, maintain and operate the equipment.

The Council’s Water Operations Manager Mr Graham Boughton said the equipment has the highest standards of safety built into its operations and is monitored continuously through the Council’s telemetry system to ensure optimum operation of the plant.

“Water softening has also been added to the water supply to improve the water softness and reduce the amount of fluoride needed to maintain the optimum dosage rate,” he said.

Minister Hatzistergos will tour the facility while on his visit to Moree.

For a range of health information, go online to www.health.nsw.gov.au