'Emotional issue': Trevor dreaded Gladstone fluoride vote

COUNCILLORS in Queensland are dealt the task of voting on a public health and dental matter: to add or not to add fluoride to their town's water supply.

The recent vote in Gladstone Regional Council has led deputy mayor Chris Trevor to refer to fluoride as the "dreaded F word".

Mr Trevor, who believes it should be a State Government decision, said councillors sourced medical information and some completed surveys ahead of their vote.

Gladstone Councillor Chris Trevor.
Gladstone Councillor Chris Trevor. Tom Huntley

In 2008 the State Government mandated the introduction of fluoride and, in 2009, fluoride was added to Gladstone's water supply.

In 2012 the Newman government gave councils the ability to make their own decisions about whether to continue to add fluoride to water.

And in 2013 the Gladstone council voted to continue to include it.

At the time the council requested Queensland Health and Australian Dental Association representative Michael Foley deliver a speech and Q and A on fluoride.

While there was no public meeting or Queensland Health visit ahead of our regional council's vote, Mr Trevor said, "there was nothing wrong with the process".

"The information gathered is what the councillors will use to make a decision as to whether to take out or leave fluoride in the region's water supply," Mr Trevor said.

"It's a very complicated and emotional issue.

"It's difficult and I think the State Government shouldn't have been so gutless to make it a local-government decision."

Mackay Regional Council faces the same vote at the end of the month.

Mayor Greg Williamson has organised a public meeting with visiting experts and a town-wide phone survey.

"The meeting will be properly facilitated and streamed online and to back that up a legitimate telephone poll company will be hired to conduct a survey and our website will also be available for people to vote," Mr Williamson said.

"I feel like among the older residents in town there is a push to have it removed.

"But we really need to find out how everyone is thinking." 

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett was given the opportunity to comment on his council's preparation but was not available.

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