AMA Queensland will write to newly elected councillors on merits of fluoridation.
AMA Queensland will write to newly elected councillors on merits of fluoridation.

Doctors ramp up bid to add fluoride to water supply

Newly elected councillors can expect a letter from the Australian Medical Association Queensland with "mounting international evidence" on the merits of water fluoridation.

AMA QLD planned to campaign on the issue prior to the 2020 election before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift in priorities.

President Dilip Dhupelia said the it was a 'no-brainer' for public health and that the Premier, Health Minister, Chief Health Officer and Chief Dental Officer had indicated support.

In 2017, the National Health and Medical Research Council released a public statement strongly recommending fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to reduce tooth decay.

It stated that around 89 per cent of Australians had access to fluoridated drinking water.

Last year, the Therapeutic Goods Administration clarified that state and territory governments would continue to be responsible for regulating fluoride in reticulated drinking water.

Dr Dhupelia said the cost-benefit was "quite dramatic' considering fluoride's merits as a preventive health measure.

It's his belief that the responsibility should lie with those elected by the community.

In 2008 the Bligh Government mandated the introduction of fluoride.

The decision was reversed by the Newman Government in 2012.

Fluoride stopped being added to the water in Gladstone as a result of a Council decision in 2016.

It was on the agenda again in 2018 when Cr Chris Trevor moved two motions offering alternative pathways.

Options to consult the community on the issue or advise the Gladstone Area Water Board that Council supported the reintroduction of fluoridation were both voted down.

Cr Trevor said the fresh evidence from the NHMRC motivated him to put forward the motions.

He said the issue was the most frustrating for him personally in the past four years and labelled the move not to consult the community as "bizarre and unexplained".

Cr Trevor will not continue to push the issue at Council and is hopeful the State Government will "stand up and be counted" on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've stopped backing my head up against a brick wall in relation to this matter," he said.

It's the opinion of Mayor Matt Burnett that fluoride was an issue for Queensland Health and was not the core business of councils.

"Ratepayers have enough to cover the cost of," he said.


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