Hunger striker Alex Young has called on the community to gather at the Blue Lake on what he has dubbed “Choice Support Day” on August 15 to show their support for his cause.
The Choice Mount Gambier community action group leader has been on a hunger strike since Thursday, July 29, in protest at the government ignoring a petition calling for a referendum on the addition of fluoride to the Blue Lake’s water supply.
Mr Young said he wanted the 6661 residents who signed the petition to gather at the Blue Lake at 1.30pm on Choice Support Day and challenge politicians on the addition of fluoride to drinking water.
“I am going to invite politicians Patrick Secker, Mitch Williams and Don Pegler to be there and answer questions,” he told The Border Watch.
“I want everyone who signed the petition to be there and ask why their petition was ignored?—?fluoridation is not legislated in South Australia, but one man, Health Minister John Hill, has made the decision to add fluoride to our drinking water, while 6661 people have said they want a choice.”
Mr Young said he would decide on whether to continue his hunger strike after Choice Support Day.
“If the turnout is good, I may end my hunger strike, but I haven’t decided yet,” he said.
Mr Young said he was disappointed that MP Don Pegler, who tabled the petition in May, was unwilling to enter into a grievance debate in parliament after the petition was ignored.
“Is this not an important enough issue for Mr Pegler to enter into a grievance debate in parliament?” he said.
But Mr Pegler told The Border Watch that a grievance debate would not achieve much.
“A grievance debate does not mean much?—?you get to speak for five minutes and it gets recorded in Hansard, and that’s it,” Mr Pegler said.
“Mr Young is pushing his barrow on an issue he believes in and it’s his full right to do so.
“I have said on numerous occasions that I am not against fluoride in our water?—?and I have spoken to a lot of doctors and dentists who are in favour of fluoridation?—?but I do think the consultation process on the issue years ago could have been handled better.
“However, that is behind us now.”
Mr Pegler said he would decline an invitation to attend Choice Support Day due to other commitments.
Meanwhile, fluoridation of Mount Gambier’s water supply has been delayed until around the end of September.
An SA Water spokesman said although fluoridation was expected to go online earlier, the completion date had been pushed back due to a delay in receiving the pumps for the plant.
“We will be advising the Mount Gambier community via post and public notices when the plant comes online,” he said.