Brett Wortman

Lack of fluoride leaving regional Qld vulnerable

THE state's failure to convince communities to add fluoride to water supplies has left regional Queensland and Indigenous communities now the most vulnerable to the consequences.

New figures published by the Queensland Government show the Department of State Development expected in early 2012 for Indigenous communities to fully benefit from fluoride in by mid 2013.

The figure currently languishes at just 8%.

The remainder of regional Queensland was to be 92% protected with fluoridated water.

Instead, it sits at 27%.

These figures may increase slightly as some councils consider adding fluoride next year.

Premier Anna Bligh's former Labor Government mandated the product be added to drinking water in 2008, but in late 2012, the LNP amended the legislation to allow councils to decide for themselves.

For its part, Premier Campbell Newman's government still supported adding fluoride to the water.

Campaigns against its introduction proved persuasive, with regional councillors voting to block the introduction of fluoride or to have it removed from supplies.

This was in spite of expert medical advice to the contrary.

The councils of Fraser Coast, Rockhampton, North and South Burnett, Cairns, Doomadgee chose to remove fluoride from town water.

Regions including Tablelands, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Blackall Tambo, Cloncurry, Charters Towers and Cassowary Coast voted to block its introduction.

The Department now lists the introduction of fluoridated drinking water as a "discontinued measure".

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Christian Rowan said fluoride, like vaccinations, were too important to be dumped in the face of opposition.

"This issue requires leadership," Dr Rowan said.

"There is absolutely irrefutable evidence that vaccines save lives.

"Fluoridation is another example of a good public health measure."

A spokesman for State Development Minister Jeff Seeney said of those councils choosing not to add fluoride, they made the decision for a variety of reasons.

"The government has no plans to revisit the issue," the spokesman said.



Queensland councils now without fluoride include:

  • Fraser Coast
  • Bundaberg
  • Doomadgee
  • Tablelands
  • North and South Burnett
  • Burdekin
  • Blackall Tambo
  • Cloncurry

Do you believe fluoride in water supplies reduces tooth decay?

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