A DECISION on fluoridating Mount Isa’s water supply now lies with the city’s residents.
Mount Isa residents will soon get their chance to have a say on whether fluoride is added to the supply, when a referendum begins on July 22.
As the last Queensland council to make the controversial decision, the Mount Isa City Council have decided to handball the decision back to the people.
Anti-fluoride activists have previously slammed the council for a lack of public consultation on the issue.
The poll will run for a week and gives residents a chance to say ‘yes or no’ to the medication of the city’s water supply.
Voters will be asked one question: “Do you support the fluoridation of the Mount Isa water supply?”. Residents will need to turn out in force though, as the council had stipulated that the poll will only count if 50 per cent plus one of all people registered on the Mount Isa City Council electoral roll record a vote.
This number equates to roughly 4000 people, and voting will not be compulsory.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady said he had sought legal advice and if the required number of people record a vote, the result will be mandatory on the council.
“I call on the residents of Mount Isa to participate in this referendum and make an informed decision about fluoridation because they are taking a decision that also reflects on their own health,” he said.
Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food Inc president Merilyn Haines has been actively involved with campaigning against fluoridation in Queensland but is concerned not enough people will turn out to have their say.
“I can’t image that enough people would turn up, when you don’t have compulsory voting you don’t get anything near 50 per cent of people turning up,” she said.
“I think it is a good idea to put the question to the public, they are the ones that are going to drink the water but I think it is a double edged sword because if 55 per cent of people think it is ok, do they have the right to force it on 45 per cent of people.
“Fluoridation is very personal, it is medication and people have the right to decide what they want themselves.”
n A single polling station will be available at the Mount Isa City Council from July 22-26 at 2pm to 4pm and on Saturday July 27 between 8am and 6pm.