A water fluoridation poll is anticipated to go ahead at the 2021 council election.
The matter will be discussed with councillors and direction will be taken about whether to return to the council with a report updating the position.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council had planned to ask voters about fluoridation in a poll as part of the then September 2020 council election.
The poll question was set as: “Would you prefer that council stop adding fluoride (hydrofluorosilicic acid) to the public water supply?”
But the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the council elections across NSW being pushed back to September 2021.
A report to the March council meeting said the cost to conduct a poll question as part of the local government election process was approximately 10 per cent of the total cost to conduct the election.
A stand-alone poll would be significantly more expensive.
Anti-fluoridation campaigner John Lusk supports voters having their say on fluoridation in conjunction with the 2021 election.
“I like to see things done efficiently and in the most cost-effective manner,” he said.
“If it [the poll] is done at the same time as the election, it will cost less money.”
Mr Lusk hopes a poll will be a step towards the end of water fluoridation in the Hastings.
A poll result is not binding on the council.
Under the act, a water utility may not cease fluoridation unless the direction is revoked by NSW Health.
A water utility can ask NSW Health to revoke a direction to fluoridate a water supply.
Water fluoridation is a controversial topic.
Fluoridation began here in February 2012 after the council referred the decision to the state government.
The NSW Department of Health subsequently directed the council to fluoridate its drinking water supply.
*Original article online at https://www.portnews.com.au/story/6806446/water-fluoridation-poll-expected-in-2021-council-discussion-to-come/