Fluoride Action Network

Queensland: Fluoridation opponents set to back Lawrence Springborg

Source: The Courier-Mail | December 29th, 2008 | By Tristan Swanwick
Location: Australia

OPPONENTS of water fluoridation have vowed to give LNP leader Lawrence Springborg their vote if he moves to scrap the controversial practice.

Almost 80 per cent of southeast Queensland households are now drinking fluoridated water.

Only Toowoomba, Caboolture, Redland City and pockets of the Sunshine Coast, north of the Maroochy River, are still to come online.

Premier Anna Bligh has said the initiative would help turn around Queensland’s bad oral health but the Government continues to receive criticism.

Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food spokeswoman Merilyn Haines yesterday said the group would throw its weight behind Opposition Leader Mr Springborg.

“(The fight) definitely isn’t over,” she said.

“There’s a state election just around the corner and if 30 per cent of people are opposed to fluoridation, and half of that change their vote, then it could be a very hot issue.

“The LNP are looking at making it an election issue and they’ve said they’re looking at a referendum.

“We would be encouraging people to vote for (Springborg) if he’s promising a referendum.”

This month, Mr Springborg told The Courier-Mail the LNP did not have a policy on fluoridation but he promised greater community consultation in areas yet to be affected.

“Where it hasn’t gone in, we would certainly be consulting with them,” he said.

Ms Haines said Queenslanders unable to afford filtration systems were considering legal action.

“Discrimination cases can be made and we’ll be looking at that very closely,” she said.

“There is already a class action group being formed.

“Anna Bligh just says you can use reverse osmosis (a common filtration system) or buy bottled water for the rest of your life, but a lot of people can’t afford that.

“People should have a choice, it should never be forced on us.”

Health Minister Stephen Robertson has consistently said fluoridation is safe.

“There have been numerous studies and subsequent reviews which have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation in reducing dental decay,” he said.

All state water supplies will contain fluoride by 2012 under the $35 million project.