A SERIES of forums looking at future water supply options will be open to the public, Barwon Water said yesterday.
The water authority last week held the first in a series of forums encouraging debate and discussion about supplies in its region.
The authority’s communication manager Luisa Munoz said community and business leaders were invited to attend the launch of the forums.
“The first forum was to kickstart the series and announce Barwon Water’s leadership program Building for the Future,” Ms Munoz said.
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“A number of forums will be held over the next year and these will be open to the wider community,” she said.
Ms Munoz was responding after the anti-fluoride lobby complained to the Geelong Advertiser about the lack of community presence at last week’s forum launch.
Barwon Freedom from Fluoridation vice-president David McRae said his group was disappointed the forum was for invited guests only.
“Barwon Water’s rhetoric says it wants to involve the community in debating how water is provided,” Mr McRae.
“How can the community debate and give advice to Barwon Water if it is excluded from these forums?”
Mr McRae urged Barwon Water to listen to people who were chemically sensitive to the new fluoride in the water.
But Ms Munoz said the forums had nothing to do with fluoridation.
“As Mr McRae well knows, fluoride is a health issue and the responsible authority is the Department of Human Services,” she said.
“Mr McRae continues to misrepresent the situation. Barwon Water has listened to BAFF, allowing it to make a presentation to the board and holding meetings with small delegations to discuss the issue.
“A forum on sustainable water supply options for the future is not the appropriate time or place to debate fluoridation,” Ms Munoz added.