TENTERFIELD people may yet have a chance to voice their opinion on whether fluoride should be added to the town water supply.
At last Thursday’s council meeting councillors agreed to withdraw their referral of the matter to the Department of Health and hold a referendum.
While no date has been set, Council General Manager Mark Arnold said that it was possible a referendum could be held in conjunction with the E Ward by-election to replace Deputy Mayor Phil Yates. All councillors, with the exception of Councillor George Hardcastle, voted in favour of writing to NSW Health and delaying the fluoride issue and to possibly hold a referendum.
The community has been lobbying councillors for a referendum on the issue since it was first mooted last year.
Fluoride decision ‘disappointing’
Department of Health Oral Health Project Manager John Irving says Tenterfield Shire Council’s decision to withdraw its referral on the issue of fluoride to the Department of Health is disappointing.
After investing months of time and energy in public education in Tenterfield about fluoride, Mr Irving said, “It is disappointing to see Tenterfield Shire Council withdrawing their decision to proceed with fluoridation of the Tenterfield water supply. Hunter New England Health maintains that sound research and health benefits supports fluoridation.
“The Health Service believes that a clear commitment by Council to improve the health of the community, would have maintained the decision to fluoridate the water supply.
“Water fluoridation has long passed the stage of being an experiment. On balance all the scientific research continues to show it is safe and effective.
“The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 1996 carefully examined more than 2000 submissions on Water Fluoridation, including many of the issues raised by vocal opponents who have written in to the Tenterfield Star. Their concerns were unfounded.
“The World Health Organisation, all Australian Health ministers and every reputable health body in this country supports water fluoridation, because it is safe and effective.”