Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting. Alistair Brightman

Your councillors reveal their stance on re-introducing fluoride

RE-INTRODUCING fluoride into the Fraser Coast's water supply isn't on the agenda for many of the region's councillors, despite Queensland's leading medical professionals urging them to do so.

A critical meeting on health issues was held between The Australian Medical Association Queensland and deputy mayor Darren Everard in Hervey Bay on Wednesday.

The medical body urged Cr Everard to have the council reconsider its stance on fluoride, five years after a vote to remove it from the water supply.

Do you think the Fraser Coast council made the right decision to remove fluoride from the water supply?

This poll ended on 03 November 2018.

Current Results

Yes, it was the right decision for the community.

40%

No, they should have kept it in the water supply.

54%

Unsure.

4%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Chronicle asked Fraser Coast councillors yesterday whether they would consider putting a motion forward calling for the re-introduction of fluoride and whether their opinions on the issue had changed in the past five years.

Many councillors said nothing had been raised in the past few years to change their minds.

Councillor James Hansen said the issue was "not even on the agenda" and his mind had not changed since the 2013 vote.

Councillor Denis Chapman said there had been no discussions about fluoride between councillors and said the issue would have to come back for a council vote.

"I won't put a motion up unless I know what it's about," Cr Chapman said.

"A lot of people in the region are on tank water, which isn't fluoridated, so I want to see what the fors and againsts are."

Councillor Daniel Sanderson said he was not considering a motion unless there was strong community feedback on the issue.

He said his opinion had not changed in the last five years.

"If it needs to be discussed I'm sure there will be an opportunity in council to raise it," Cr Sanderson said.

Other councillors suggested the issue was a matter for the State Government.

Despite voting to remove fluoride in 2013, councillor Stuart Taylor said it was "not the correct decision" and he would support the re-introduction of fluoride "given the opportunity".

"Having said that, I do not believe that it is a decision for local councils, but rather the Queensland Government should consider all the expert advice and make a decision in the interest of the entire Queensland community," Cr Taylor said.

"I believe that the State Government should never have abrogated their responsibility on a community health issue to Local Governments.

"If expert medical advice is so compelling, state legislation should be created to direct councils to fluoridate the water supply, as the legislation was previously."

Councillor Paul Truscott, who was elected to the council in 2016, said his personal opinion was fluoridation of the water was not a council matter.

"The state has more health experts at their disposal to make the decision," Cr Truscott said.

"I have not seen the information provided by the AMAQ, but if they would like to see the increase of residents' dental health, then I would suggest starting a push for a ban on sugar.

"Ultimately fluoride has been a non-issue for me in my role, I have only had two Fraser Coast residents contact me regarding water fluoridation and both opposed it."

Councillor David Lewis said it was the right thing to do according to medical science, but said there were concerns with infrastructure costs.

"I anticipate the costs of re-establishing infrastructure to install and monitor the water would come at a significant cost," he said.

"I'm a little reluctant to revisit issues too often, if a decision is made, it shouldn't be put up for re-consideration every second year or so."

Councillors George Seymour, Darren Everard, Anne Maddern, Rolf Light and Zane O'Keefe were contacted for comment, but did not respond before print deadline.