QUEENSLAND will take the first step towards fluoridating its water when the state government introduces new laws into parliament this week.
However a community group has warned it will protest against the move tomorrow when state parliament resumes for the year.
Labor Premier Anna Bligh in December announced plans to add fluoride to water supplies, ending a 40-year impasse that has left Queensland children with the nation’s worst teeth.
Ms Bligh today said she had asked Health Minister Stephen Robertson to fast-track the issue for its introduction into parliament.
“I anticipate having fluoride in the drinking water of south-east Queensland in the second half of this year,” Ms Bligh told reporters.
“So we had to put in place the legal processes that will ensure that.”
Ms Bligh acknowledged public concern about the move and said she hoped to quell some of the fears over the next six months.
“Having the legislation before parliament is an important part of that public debate,” she said.
Merilyn Haines, president of Queenslanders Against Water Fluoridation, said protesters would gather at parliament house from 10am Queensland time tomorrow.
“It’s a human rights issue as much as anything else because it’s forced mass medication,” Ms Haines said.
“It’s not safe.”
Ms Haines said the group was considering legal action, but would not reveal how it would challenge the state government’s fluoride laws.
“We’re not going to show our hand yet,” she said.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg criticised the government for not consulting on the issue.
“Regardless of whether you believe in fluoride or not, the information should be available to the public and they should have a chance to have a say,” he said.