Safe Water bites back
Friday, 11 June 2004
Source: News Port Macquarie
THE Hastings Safe Water Association is pushing for Hastings Council to reverse its decision to refer fluoridation to the NSW Government.
Publicity officer Don Mackay believes the council should honour the 1991 poll or put the issue to people through another poll.
"It wasn't the people who raised putting fluoride in (the water), it was the health bureaucrats," he said.
Mr Mackay stands firm on the need for more dental therapists and education about good dental hygiene.
"It's the education of the kids, what they eat and the cleaning of their teeth that's important."
He said fluoridated water in the Hastings would take away people's right to choose.
"We are going to push for a rescission motion," Mr Mackay said.
"One of the things that really hurts is they have taken our choice away by starting up a board along the lines of exactly how the Health Department wants it done."
But Mid-North Coast Area Health Service chief executive officer Terry Clout rejected claims the panel was stacked in favour of fluoridation.
"This is a committee established by the minister under legislation to consider all of the issues and provide advice," he said.
Hastings Council voted 6-3 at last week's council meeting to approach the NSW Government to establish an expert panel to determine if there was a strong case for fluoridation.
If the panel finds a strong case, the council will go ahead with fluoridation and take up the Mid-North Coast Area Health Service's offer to fully fund capital costs.
The council will also seek a subsidy to cover the total recurrent costs.
"This is a highly significant decision in terms of improving both the dental health and general health of our current community and future communities," Mr Clout said.
"It's a very significant public health initiative and I congratulate the council on being prepared to act in the way they have, in what was for them a very contentious and difficult decision."
Coffs Harbour City Council was to consider fluoridation late yesterday, while the debate will reach Bellingen Shire Council on Tuesday.
Kempsey Shire Council voted to refer fluoridation to the NSW Government but a rescission motion has been lodged.