A major plank of anti-fluoride activist Al Oshlack’s case against Rous Water was pulled out from under him yesterday when the Department of Health’s chief dental health officer, Clive Wright, issued an extension of all approvals and directives, valid until June 2012.
Mr Oshlack had been arguing a point of law before Justice Peter Biscoe in the Land and Environment Court that Rous had no authority to fluoridate the water supply because all the approvals and directives from the Department had lapsed. But Rous Water’s technical services director Wayne Franklin returned from a lunch break with the extension from Mr Wright.
Mr Oshlack was obviously disappointed by the development. However it is far from the end of the matter.
There are several other points of law being argued in the case, the main one being whether the Fluoride Act overrides the Environment Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act.
Mr Oshlack is arguing that it doesn’t and therefore the effects of fluoride on human health and the environment need to be considered.
Rous’s lawyers are arguing that a directive from the Health Department takes precedent over the EP&A Act.
“If it does, then for all intents and purposes significant parts of Al Oshlack’s case would be dismissed,” Wayne Franklin said. “If he (Mr Oshlack) wins this preliminary hearing, we will be going back to court to hear an argument on the merits of fluoride on human health and environment.”
Justice Biscoe has reserved his judgement and no date has been set for his findings.